Visafone Communications wants to increase its market share and play a “more dominat role” in Nigeria’s cashless society project.
The broadband provider said it wants to grow its footprint on the back of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s mobile money initiative as well as in the mobile broadband where it has comparative advantage, Jim Ovia, the company chairman, told local media.
Without citing numbers or going deep into other strategic details, Ovia said the company will invest billions of naira to expand its voice and data network until 2015.
He said that one of Visafone’s strategy key points is to rank among the three largest operators in Nigeria includes the popularisation of handsets.
“We are also set to introduce new and exciting devices through our network, including tablets and affordable smart phones,” promised Visafone’s chairman.
“Exciting times are ahead of us with Mobile Money, Cashless Nigeria and Convergence slated to encompass our lives,” said Ovia.
Visafone’s expansion plans also counts on the investments in infrastructure made in the country.
With over 90m mobile phone subscribers, Nigeria is the biggest country in the African mobile market, but mobile handset penetration is around 60%, according to a recent report by the telecommunications consultancy company BuddeComm.
Broadband penetration in Nigeria is expected to jump from the current 5% to 40% of the country’s population by 2015, said Timasaniyu Ahmed-Rufai, the managing director and CEO for Nigerian Communications Satellite at the beginning of April.
Ovia estimated that, by 2015, the country will have 70m internet users and the country “will be using wireless broadband services worth NGN600bn ($3,73bn).”
“As our future growth strategy, we will also be deploying the Long Term Evolution (LTE) Technology as soon as the infrastructure and other resources are available to keep us at par with the global competitive environment”, said Ovia.
Although there is space for growth, the telcos have real challenges in Nigeria. “Much of the remaining addressable market is in the country is in rural areas where network roll-outs and operations are expensive,” according to a BuddeComm report on Nigeria published early this year.
The report read:
“This, in combination with declining average revenue per user levels, is forcing the networks to streamline their operations and to develop new revenue streams from services such as third generation (3G) mobile broadband, mobile payments/banking, and others”.
“At the same time the operators are rolling out national fibre backbone networks to support the ever increasing demand for bandwidth. At least two operators are rolling out fourth generation (4G) LTE networks.”