The telecoms industry gained 18 new Internet Service Providers in the first half of the year despite intense competition in the industry, data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission has showed.
This brings the total number of licensed ISPs in the country to 134 as of July 17, 2020.
Checks showed that InteWeb Satcom, Sol Global Link Network, Barnksforte Technology, TIS Lagos Limited were licensed in January this year to offer Internet services.
In February and March, Corridor Communications, Air-WiFi Cyberspace, Wifrica Data Solutions, Informacial Media International and Bryantel Technologies were licensed by NCC.
The NCC added Cobranet, Ascom Net Int’l, AFR-IX Data Communications, Partner Mobile and Stratepro Veritas Technology to the list of Nigeria’s Internet Service Providers in April.
In June and July, Flexfinity Media, Infratel, Hoop Telecoms and Elitel Universal Mobile Communications joined the industry as ISPs.
Pioneer Nigerian ISPs faced intense competition when mobile network operators, with their large subscriber base, started offering Internet services and crashed the price of data, making the business unprofitable for small operators.
As a result, there has been a huge churn in the industry due to the inability of the ISPs to renew their licences.
Experts noted that the successful operators were those who have carved a niche for themselves in the market or act as resellers for the MNOs.
Findings showed that most of the ISPs who served the enterprise market lost revenue during the lockdown in April because their services were cancelled or suspended, despite procuring wholesale capacity.
In an interview recently, the President, Association of Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria, Mr Olusola Teniola, said the ability of ISPs to access spectrum at the last mile was a challenge.
He encouraged ISPs to consider the opportunities of being community networks and provide Internet services in underserved communities that did not have the presence of MNOs.
“Community networks serve the purposes of curators in underserved and unserved areas that are adopting low-cost technology to solve issues in areas that the larger operators would not deem profitable,” he said.
“It is very important that ISPs have access to innovative funding. You can create all these incentives but if an operator is struggling to gain access to reasonable funding that is not at double-digit interest rates but affordable and also matches the type of projects,” Teniola added.
According to him, access to funding will enable them to expand their operations and be viable and financially independent.