The Relevance of Communication Networks in Nigeria and in the globe generally cannot be underestimated. It’s overwhelming, touching lives and transforming sectors of the economy. To have headway in whatever you are doing, it is relevant you know where you are coming from. Nigerians, we actually say yes! So far so good, though we are not there yet, in terms of technological transformation in our major sectors including Telecommunication itself.
I keep wondering how those of our educated parents, our present day’s professors are able to make research in their various academic fields without the help of present-day search engines, the internet world. As the present says goes “the world is a global village”, this is as a result of technology.
What a privilege we have now to sit back at our homes, offices and even schools to check what is happening around the globe with the help of search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo, Mamma and etc. A few years back, usually, it takes days, weeks, or even months to have a mail delivered. It may interest you to know at this point that communication Technology is a factor in a striving country like Nigeria i.e. it must be considered very important to get other things right in terms of security and other related issues. My concern is to point out how relevant Communication Technology is in sustaining a suitable society.
Communication Networks In Nigeria
The inception of Nigeria’s Telecommunication is recorded in 1886. This was when a cable connection was confirmed between Lagos and the colonial office in London. By 1893, Lagos office was provided with telephone service, which eventually extended to Jebba, Niger State and Ilorin, the present-day capital of Niger state. This on a gradual process turned into national telecommunication network. In actual fact, it was not transforming any other sector rather than itself.
The telegraph service also witnesses a parallel development, moved from telegraph delivery by way of manual co-ordinate pegboard switching to use of Morse code for telex switching. During one of my seminars, I remembered vividly a participant asked me what Morse code is. For the benefit of our readers, Morse code is a method of transmitting text information by the combination of long and short light or sound signals.
The system turns up a little better in the mid-90s, as a result of the following factors: first among the factors is telephone service; by 1993, with the total capacity of 780,000 lines followed by telex service, with a total installed capacity of 12,800 and 20 voicemail lines.
Digital exchanges were executed in 47 Local Government Headquarters in Nigeria, also transmission system. What is Transmission System? It is a system that enables a signal from one place to another. A signal can be an electrical, optical or radio signal.
In a bid to transform the telecommunication sector, Nigeria as a member of Economic Community of West African States (ECWAS) and the organization of African Unity (OAU), now known as African Union (AU) collaborated with other member nations of these organizations to develop Telecommunication services at the continental level as well as sub-regional. This took the form of meetings among the telecommunications engineers.
The present-day Communication Networks in Nigeria
- Airtel: The civilian administration of Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, licensed Global System Mobile Communication (GSM) in 2001. The first GSM network providers that roll out its operation was Econet, launched on the 6th of August, 2001. Because of change of management over time, the name was changed to Vodacom then to V-Mobile which was later changed to ZAIN, for a while stable with the name Airtel. I still remember vividly when my elder sister bought the line at the rate of N30, 000 and it also took days before collection. The same line is now sold at the rate of N100, what a development.
- MTN: MTN came into seen, launched under the 900 and 1800MHZ spectrum. Thereafter, the company commenced full commercial operations beginning with Lagos, Abuja and Port-Harcourt. Since launched in August 2001, MTN has steadily deployed its services across breadth and Length of Nigeria, spanning the 36 state of Nigeria and including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja. Having exhausted its initial subscriber numbering range of 0803, spread to 0806, 0810 with over 40 Million subscribers. With this range of subscribers, I can categorically state here that we have moved from medieval Nitel system of Communications to eject age; contributing directly and indirectly to other sectors of the economy unlike 1893.
- Globacom (Glo): Globalcom Nigeria Limited came into seen and introduced per second billings and other competitive packages that challenged other network providers in Nigeria. Globacom is relatively young compared to Airtel and MTN. It was launched in August 2003; Glo mobile was the fourth GSM operator to launch in Nigeria. With few years of operation, its subscriber base has grown to over 25 Million. In the first year of the company’s operation, it had one Million Subscribers in over eighty-seven towns in Nigeria and over 120 Billion Naira revenue.
- Etisalat: This Communication Network is one of the most internet hubs in the Middle East, providing connectivity to other communications operators in the region. Also, spread wings into Africa and the network was regarded as the 12th largest voice carrier in the world. At when it commenced its operation in Nigeria, October 2008, with over 14 Million subscribers and various innovative packages like EasyBlaze, EasyClick, EasyStarter with various values attached to each.
Nigeria’s telecommunication industry said to be among the fast-growing telecommunication industry in Africa, if not the fastest in the world.
Benefits of Communication Networks in Nigeria
- It presents the largest provider of job opportunities for Nigeria’s teeming population directly and indirectly.
- It has contributed positively to other sectors of the economy, thereby reducing unnecessary business trips, reducing road traffics.
- Mobile money transfer: this is a system of transferring money through mobile networks.
- Bank alerts: this enables you to receive immediate information about the transaction on your bank account and other bank related issues.
- Easy communication means: this includes all social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, WhatsApp, BlackBerry Messengers and accessing of electronic Mails (E-mails).
- Access to Online information: this includes research works, local and foreign news and others.