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Nigeria has one of the largest telecom markets in Africa. The sector’s regulator is the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) operating a unified licensing regime. 

Nigeria has the most competitive fixed-line market in Africa, featuring a second national operator (Globacom) and over 80 other companies licensed to provide fixed-telephony services. The alternative carriers combined provide around 85% of all fixed connections, though in general terms about 80% of all connections are wireless. 

The telecom sector attracts considerable foreign investment, resulting in a strong multinational presence, and government infrastructure programs will further stimulate investment in coming years.  

There is strong price competition among telecom operators on their voice and internet data, and while Nigeria’s data bundle prices are the lowest in sub-Saharan Africa, they are priced below actual costs so smaller mobile network operators find it hard to survive in the market, which leaves an industry dominated by few players. 

The leading players are MTN, a South African-based multinational company with a market share of 37.21%, Airtel (an Indian based multinational telecommunication), Glo (a Nigerian multinational company) and 9mobile (formerly Etisalat). Other than the key mobile network operators, there are a number of additional players operating. 

Several microwave and fibre-based national backbone networks are being rolled out by various companies. The landing of additional submarine cables (supported by improved domestic fibre infrastructure) has delivered a further boost to the country’s developing broadband sector by improving bandwidth. Globacom is building a second cable, Glo-2, to reinforce its infrastructure in the south of the country. 

Registering SIM cards/mobile numbers with or without a data plan is a simple process and all that is required is a recognized form of ID.

For more information on telecoms contacts, please see the following link:4.11 Nigeria Additional Services Contact List

Telephone Services 

Is there an existing landline telephone network? 

Yes 

Does it allow international calls? 

Yes  

Number and Length of Downtime Periods (on average) 

Variable. Generally, few and short in urban areas but subject to localised conditions.  

Mobile Phone Providers  

Airtel, 9mobile, Globacom, MTN Nigeria, Ntel, Multilinks(Telkom), Visafone, Smile, skystar, Tuge Height Nigeria  

Approximate Percentage of National Coverage 

80% 

Telecommunications Regulations 

Importation of humanitarian communications equipment: VSAT, HF, VHF, Thurayas, etc. is allowed, this can be checked on the Approved Communications Equipment List (https://www.ncc.gov.ng/documents/552-list-of-type-approved-communications-equipment-201409/file). 

There is an annual licensing fee for setting up fixed and mobile stations including microwave and VSAT networks and 2-way radio systems (https://www.ncc.gov.ng/licensing-regulatory/licensing/fees-pricing#individual-license).

Regulations on Usage and Import 

 

Regulations in Place? 

Regulating Authority 

Satellite 

Yes  

NCC (Nigerian Communication Commission) Ministry of Communication 

HF Radio 

Yes  

NCC 

UHF/VHF/HF Radio: Handheld, Base and Mobile 

Yes  

NCC 

UHF/VHF Repeaters 

Yes  

NCC 

GPS 

No 

 Not required 

VSAT 

Yes  

NCC 

Individual Network Operator Licenses Required 

Yes: refer to NCC regulations (https://www.ncc.gov.ng/docman-main/legal-regulatory/regulations/329-regulations-for-telecommunications-networks-interconnection-2/file) 

Frequency Licenses Required Yes 

Yes: refer to NCC regulations (https://www.ncc.gov.ng/docman-main/legal-regulatory/regulations/104-frequency-pricing-regulations/file) 

Existing Humanitarian Telecoms Systems 

There is no formalised humanitarian telecom system outside of the North Eastern region. UNDSS (Abuja) is the focal point for UN Organisations. International NGO Safety Organisation (INSO) is the focal point for all other NGOs.

The Emergency Telecommunications Sector (ETS) is providing shared internet connectivity and security telecommunications related services to the entire humanitarian community in North-East Nigeria.

ETS connectivity services are used by an average of 91 humanitarians in Maiduguri and 25 humanitarians in the field hubs on a daily basis. In 2018, the ETS  provided internet connectivity to over 2,931 humanitarians from 106 organisations across North-East Nigeria. 

Existing UN Telecommunication Systems 

 

ETS 

WFP 

VHF Frequencies 

15 pairs 

No 

HF Frequencies 

9 

No 

Locations of Repeaters  

Maiduguri, Damaturu, Ngala, Gwoza, Dikwa, Damasak, Bama, Banki, Monguno 

Maiduguri, Damaturu 

VSAT 

Maiduguri, Ngala, Gwoza, Dikwa, Damasak, Bama, Banki, Monguno 

Damaturu, Maiduguri, Abuja 

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 

Reliable Internet connectivity is readily available and there are multiple private ISP companies. Businesses can easily connect wirelessly by taking out short- or long-term contracts.    

Internet Service Providers 

Are there ISPs available? 

Yes 

If yes, are they privately or government owned? 

Privately 

Dial-up only? 

No 

Approximate Rates (local currency and USD - $) 

Dial-up 

N/A 

Broadband 

120GB/$100 

Max Leasable ‘Dedicated’ Bandwidth 

256Mbps/256Mbps 

Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) 

MTN Group Limited, formerly M-Cell, is a South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, operating in many African, European and Asian countries. Its head office is in Johannesburg. 

Etisalat, headquartered in Abu Dhabi, provides services to 141 million subscribers in 15 countries across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

Airtel has network presence in all states of the Federation, Local Government Areas, major towns and villages in Nigeria. The company’s mobile networks cover over 70% of Nigeria’s population and its 3G coverage ratio is over 41%. The company’s distribution network spreads across over 40,000 retail outlets with well over 332,042 retailers. 

Reliable countrywide coverage over 80% of all areas is claimed by these companies (see links after table below) and they offer all internationally expected services. 

The regulatory framework for mobile money services in Nigeria can be read here: https://www.cbn.gov.ng/out/2015/bpsd/regulatory%20framework%20for%20mobile%20money%20services%20in%20nigeria.pdf 

For information on MNOs please visit the GSM Association website   

Company 

Number of Agent Outlets by Area 

Network Strength by Area 

Contracted for Humanitarian or Government Cash Transfer Programmes? 

Services Offered (i.e. Merchant Payment, Bulk Disbursement, Receive & Make Payment) 

MTN 

Over 300 across all states 

expansive network coverage, spread across 3,340 cities, towns and villages in all 36 states  

Coverage varies within states. 

Yes 

Yes 

9mobile (previously Estilat) 

More than 200 across all states 

expansive network coverage spread across all 36 states  

Coverage varies within states. 

No 

Yes 

Airtel 

40,000 across all states 

expansive network coverage spread across all 36 states  

Coverage varies within states. 

Yes 

Yes 

For detailed coverage information please visit: www.mobilecoveragemaps.com/map_ng#10/11.8445/13.1067 

Also ITU coverage map: https://www.itu.int/itu-d/tnd-map-public/  


Disclaimer: Inclusion of company information in the LCA does not imply any business relationship between the supplier and WFP / Logistics Cluster, and is used solely as a determinant of services, and capacities.  

Please note: WFP / Logistics Cluster maintain complete impartiality and are not in a position to endorse, comment on any company's suitability as a reputable service provider.