Analysing the performance of the Nigerian telecoms industry during pandemics

The sector grew by 15.29% in 2020 in real terms despite the general decline seen in the economy in 2020.

The Nigerian telecommunication system was fully deregulated in 2000 after the establishment of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) in 1992. Since then, the industry has evolved from having players such as MTN, Visaphone, Multilinks, Globacom, Airtel, and 9Mobile to having just 4 key players who now provide mobile and internet services.

The number of internet and mobile subscribers have significantly grown over the years as the population grew and the need for distance communication increased. Between 2011 and 2020 the number of mobile subscribers increased from 95.89 million mobile subscribers to 204.6 million mobile subscribers. Besides population growth and modernisation, epidemics have also contributed to the recorded growth.

The most notable epidemics in Nigeria in recent times are the avian influenza (bird flu) in 2006, the ebola virus outbreak in 2014, and COVID-19 which began in 2020. The bird flu outbreak, however, did not have a significant impact on economic activities besides the agricultural sector at that time.



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