ICT Africa Writer
Septermber 29, 2013
One of the key topics discussed at the recent NigeriaCom 2013 conference in Victoria Island was Quality of Service. It was obvious from the deliberations that mass rollout of mobile networks will achieve very little for Africa if serious consideration is not given to improving quality of service.
Although Nigeria boasts of about 120 Million mobile subscriptions, it was revealed that the actual number of subscribers is significantly smaller. Many Nigerian subscribers subscribe to several mobile lines, up to four lines in some cases. By subscribing to many mobile lines on different networks, Nigerians can be assured of the ability to complete calls when one or two networks are down or are congested.
Delegates also learnt that about 60% of mobile lines in Nigeria are not broadband capable. In a continent in which average revenue per subscriber (ARPU) of voice services is dwindling (see graph in video below), operators have to rely on data, video, money transfer and other value added services that require broadband lines.
Moreover, for Africa to successfully take advantage of ICT for development, broadband access is a must. It is imperative, therefore, that operators improve network quality and increase the number of broadband lines to boost their revenues and to support Africa’s Millennium Development Goals.
A panel of mobile operators highlighted some of the challenges they encountered in their attempt to improve network quality of service. These challenges include damage to fibre cable infrastructure by the government as they expand road networks, vandalism and the difficulty in acquiring the necessary rights of way to expand their fibre backbone.
It is paradoxical that a government that purports to support the ICT development of its country is largely to blame for the destruction of ICT infrastructure of its operators and holds on to retrogressive policies that makes it difficult for operators to expand their networks.
Please view the video below for more on NigeriaCom 2013.