By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta says demand for mobile network has risen to 800% due to the advent of COVID-19 pandemic.
Prof. Danbatta dropped the hint at the first virtual edition of the Telecoms Consumer Parliament (VTCP) held at the weekend in Abuja.
The virtual meeting was held in place of the customary face-to-face engagement as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Citing a report by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the EVC said the spike in the demand for mobile network services rose to the unprecedented height due to the unprecedented global health emergency, which he said “is tasking mobile networks and digital platforms to the limit, with some telecom operators and platforms reporting demand spikes as high as 800% since the outbreak of the pandemic in their respective countries.”
He said the report which centred on the impact of the pandemic on the telecoms sector, indicates that “COVID-19 virus has presented a stress test for Governments worldwide with the Internet playing a crucial role in keeping critical infrastructure and resources connected and available.”
With this development, he noted that reliable, high-speed Internet now remains key to ensuring that hospitals and medical institutions have access to global information and resources necessary to fight the virus.
For the NCC EVC, broadband connectivity has proven to be absolutely crucial for educational institutions and businesses to continue to provide essential services.
It will be recalled that in the wake of the outbreak of the pandemic in Nigeria, the Federal Government announced different categories of lockdown which make the mobility and social life of citizens hindered, necessitating the need for individuals, businesses and public institutions to rely more on telecommunications to constantly keep in touch with their relatives, friends and more importantly, for running their daily economic activities.
Activities in all sectors were virtually paralyzed and later migrated to online following the lockdown down. This according to him, has made ICT the major driver of growth in every sector now.
“Impact of COVID-19 on Telecoms Service Delivery” is timely and could not have come at a better time than now,” he added.
Despite the pandemic and the lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19 virus, he said the Commission had not relented to ensure that the quality of telecom services is sustained during and post COVID–19 period.
Though, the sector is capital intensive, Danbatta assured that the Commission would continue to join hands with the Minister and other stakeholders to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy.
The focus of the parliament was to provide opportunity to industry stakeholders, to have a quick look at how the pandemic is impacting service delivery in the telecommunication industry, which currently provides the digital platform for the economy to remain afloat.