Mobile telecoms transforming Nigeria
A new report by Pyramid Research claims that mobile services are having a profoundly positive effect on the daily lives of mobile users in Nigeria. It says that mobile services are helping users access information, create business opportunities and lower their transaction costs. "There is also ample space to develop mobile applications in the areas of agriculture, education, financial services, and health in Nigeria," says Badii Kechiche, Senior Analyst at Pyramid Research.
According to the report, there were almost 73 million mobile subscriptions at the end of 2009 in Nigeria, representing around half of the population. "The mobile industry will continue to post rapid growth and has generated substantial investment in infrastructure, employing more than 3 million direct and indirect jobs in Nigeria," he added. "Since the Nigerian government successfully liberalized the industry in 2001, capital investments in mobile networks and operations have constituted a total of more than $16 billion as of March 2010, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission."
These stats are broadly in agreement with other market analysts. For example, Budde says that Nigeria overtook South Africa (as widely expected) as the largest mobile market in Africa during 2009, with 75 million subscribers. However, Budde points out that growth slowed in 2009, partly because of the global economic downturn. Canadian analyst firm Technology Strategies International has also published a recent report on ICT in Nigeria, which points out that there is still a massive latent demand for mobile services in the country as operators target the poorer segments of the country.