Nigeria had 450,000 active line as at 2001, the NCC said.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) on Friday said active telephone lines in the country had increased from 450,000 to 116 million from 1960 to 2013.
Tony Ojobo, Director, Public Affairs of the Commission, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja that the lines were mostly of the Global System Mobile Communication (GSM) stock.
He said that the commission recorded 450,000 connected lines from 1960 to 2001 for a population of about 100 million and recorded 116 million connected lines from 2001 to 2013.
Mr. Ojobo said that the country had suffered from monopoly in telecommunication, adding that the situation was driven by profit objectives because there was no competition. He said the increase recorded in the connected lines is because the sector is currently opened up to competition with the licensing of the digital service providers.
Speaking on the ongoing competition among the telecom providers through advertisements, Mr. Ojobo said the launch of Mobile Number Portability (MNP) had increased the competition. He noted that the essence of competition was to provide opportunity for choice, better tariff plans as well as to provide better services and value for money.
“Mobile number portability has deepened competition. I don’t know what makes competition unhealthy.
“Now every network is fighting for the market for mobile communication in Nigeria; so, what you see playing out now is that struggle for dominance in the market.
“Who is the best network, who has better tariff plan, better package and better consumer service? Competition might not be friendly but could be healthy,’’ Mr. Ojobo said.
He said that it had got to the commission that some people were raising issues of ethics as regard to adverts ran by network providers. He said that all issues related to advertisement should be left for the Advertising Practitioners of Nigeria to handle.
“What NCC is concerned with is to ensure that consumers have value for their money. If what is happening is going to give value to the consumers, then fine,” he said.
Mr. Ojobo advised people to look beyond the advertisement and focus on the value MNP would bring saying MNP was beginning to do something new in the advertisement market. He said that number portability was strengthening the advertisement companies and also making them to be more creative and innovative.
He said it was also making the models being used for the advertisement to be better-appreciated and get better bargain in terms of how much they were being paid.
“I believe that advert people are not complaining about it, I think it may be innovational creativity. I can’t speak for the parties involved but I believe that these companies would have looked at the rules and regulations to see whether they were doing anything unethical.
“They must have done their home work but what this is showing is that the telecommunication market is matured, developing as well as the advertising companies,” he said.
Mr. Ojobo said that had shown that telecommunication services were providing a lot of revenue for advertising companies and additional value to the Nigerian models. He said that MNP would make the networks more respectful and responsible to their subscribers, thereby making the consumer a king.