Mobile Broadband Could Add 5 Billion to Nigeria’s GDP

A telecommunication consulting firm has urgedNigeria’s Federal Government to roll out mobile broadband in the country to unlock $5 billion in gross domestic product by 2015.

Analysys Mason at the weekend canvassed the release of the 2.6 GHz band and freeing up digital dividend spectrum to establish network coverage quickly in both urban and rural areas.

“Without proper spectrum allocation in line with internationally harmonised band plans and broader government support, it will not be possible to realise the full potential of mobile broadband,” Robert Schumann, manager at Analysys Mason, said in a research note.

According to the company, currently only 6 percent of Nigerians have access to broadband services; and of that proportion, 74 percent do so via mobile.

“It is essential that the Nigerian government acts quickly to support mobile broadband expansion,” said a statement from the GSM Association special government adviser, Ross Bateson. “Failure to do so could hinder the country’s social and economic growth.”

The announcement coincides with the publication this week of a report from the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, which called on governments to establish the regulatory framework necessary to stimulate broadband investment.

ITU Secretary General, Hamadoun Touré, who spoke in London, highlighted the importance of transparent regulation to attract investment.

“Fish do not swim in muddy water,” he said. “The rules of engagement have to be transparent, predictable, and account for everyone’s views.”

The Broadband Commission, set up last year by the ITU and UNESCO, aims to put broadband high on world leaders’ agendas.

Touré said October’s ITU Telecom World event in Geneva would target attracting as many as 50 heads of government.

“Fifteen have already committed so far,” he said, without naming any names.

Touré stressed the need for broadband connectivity as a way of stimulating growth in every area of human life, and will also enable the developing world to contribute new ideas on a global stage.

“We’ll see innovation driven from all parts of the world,” he said. “Innovation driven by the human brain – the most equally-distributed resource on the planet.”