According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the telecommunications and information services sector in Nigeria made a significant financial contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the first quarter of 2023, totalling N2.508 trillion, which represents 14.13 per cent of the GDP.
The figures released by the NBS indicate a 4.3 per cent increase compared to the sector’s performance in the last quarter of 2022 when it contributed 13.55 per cent to the GDP. On a year-on-year basis, the growth shows a positive trend from 12.94 per cent in the first quarter of 2022 to the 2023 figure of 14.13 per cent, marking an approximate growth of 9.19 per cent.
The calculation of the telecom sector’s contribution to GDP was derived from 46 distinct sectors of the economy, which encompass telecom and information services.
The Nigerian telecom industry continues to demonstrate a positive outlook, thanks to the innovative and predictable regulatory environment established and implemented by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
One notable highlight of the industry’s performance during this period was the generation of $820.8 million in revenue for the federal government from 5G spectrum license fees paid by three winning operators: MTN, MAFAB, and Airtel. MTN and MAFAB have already launched their 5G services after receiving licenses in December 2021, while Airtel, which received its license in December 2022, is scheduled to launch its services in June 2023.
Another significant development in the sector was the introduction of Starlinks broadband services, a satellite-based wireless broadband service with potential nationwide coverage. This followed the issuance of a license to Elon Musk-owned SpaceX by the Commission. The services are now available in various parts of the country.
Meanwhile, the telecom industry’s growth statistics exhibit an impressive record of contributions to the economy. As of April 2023, the number of phone subscribers reached 223.6 million, resulting in a tele-density of 117 per cent. Internet subscribers during the same period totalled 157 million, while broadband subscriptions stood at 92 million, reflecting a 48 per cent broadband penetration rate in the country.