Infrastructure: Nigeria’s strong international bandwidth but weak domestic coverage and last-mile connectivity suggest a relatively low performance in infrastructure rollout. The private sector led more than 95% of greenfield investments in telecoms from 1990-2010. Currently there are subsidies that support infrastructure extension and service delivery in rural areas. Given investment by operators in backhaul infrastructure, networks should be positioned to support mobile network operator rollout while moving towards uncovered areas. Suburban Telecom could lead the next wave of expansion.
Usage conditions: Nigeria has seen very strong telecom and mobile sector growth, with slightly slower uptake of the Internet due to limited accessibility. Twenty five percent of rural dwellers do not have access to cell coverage and have to travel a distance of between one to 10km to access telephone services.
Activity and impact across sectors: Nigeria shows the greatest potential in using the Internet to promote good governance, eCommerce and finance, though these sectors have not yet produced solutions that have spread across the region. The Cashless Nigeria Initiative aims to boost eCommerce and has been fairly successful in Lagos with plans to rollout to other states. Pagatech, a mobile payments company, has 200 000 users but is limited by the lack of legal protection of consumer funds within mMoney systems. In governance, the electoral commission and citizen sector have teamed up to create multiple elections monitoring platforms based on SMS aggregation.
Role of government: The Ministry of Communication Technology is playing an increasingly active role. In August 2012, it revised the national ICT policy and is considering incentives to drive the private sector to expand access to less-profitable rural areas. Consumer protection policies, however, are needed to further innovation and customer acquisition in mMoney and eCommerce.