The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has disclosed that the number of mobile phone users in the country has increased by 15 million between December 2019 and May 2020, totaling 199 million.
NCC also disclosed that internet subscriptions in the same period increased from 126 million to 147.1 million, while broadband subscriptions rose from 72 million to 80.2 million, achieving a 42.02 percent penetration in the country.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, disclosure the statistics at a virtual launch and award ceremony of the COVID-19 Research Grant presented to three startups, by the NCC, yesterday in Abuja.
Danbatta stated that Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) subscribers in the country increased from 184 million 199.3 million in May 2020.
On start-ups, the chairman explained that the startups participated in a 3-month virtual hackathon with the theme Virtual Hackathon: “Adaptable Digital Solutions for Addressing the Present and Future Impact of Pandemic and Epidemic Diseases from Technology Hubs, Startups and Innovation Digital SMEs in Nigeria”.
“These may have given impetus to the possibility of holding virtual meetings and conferences on video technologies that are now providing social distancing solutions.
“So, in whichever way we look at it, telecommunication has a much greater role to play than many other sectors of economy and society. Therefore, the challenge is for us to find a way to accentuate our local content solution, which is a blessing to us. We are pleased with the responses that we received on this initiative,” he said.
Danbatta said that the NCC, has in the past two years managed similar ICT-based innovations and research competitions among tertiary institutions in the country, with potentials of improving local content solutions in the industry.
“We should be bold enough as a country in adopting indigenous solutions. We must adopt and consume them. There should be less attention to imported goods.
“It is evident that the entire globe is challenged about how best to tackle this pandemic. Telecommunications and ICTs have taken the centre stage in the provision or advancement of solutions.
“We will all witness what digital solutions that today’s winners are going to bring to the table. Each of the Startups, or tech-hubs with promising innovative digital solutions against the pandemic will receive a grant of N3 million.
“We have encouraged ICT innovations among the Nigerian youths whom we have regularly sponsored to various competitions organised by the International Telecommunications Union,” Danbatta said.