THE IMPACT OF INTRODUCTION OF GLOBAL SYSTEM FOR MOBILE COMMUNICATION (GSM) ON THE NIGERIA ECONOMY, A RESEARCH PROJECT TOPIC ON MASS COMMUNICATION
1.1 Background of the Study
It a crystal clear that without communication, there would be no society. Communication gives room for peaceful co-existence among human being. That is why there are series of school of thoughts on the concept of communication. Development and growth of any country depends on the mode of communication of international relations, that is why most countries of the world has its own official language. This shows that communication is pertinent in all human activities and development.
Communication has been defined variously by academic scholars and students, but the older meaning of the term in English can be summarized as passing of ideas, information and attitudes from person to person.
Prior to the emergence of the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication (GSM), table telephone and cellular phones existed in Nigeria. The telephone industry was monopolized by the government during pre-liberalization period at it was thought that only the government had the funds to develop the nation’s telephone infrastructure. Before independence in 1960, telephone access was first developed in 1886 to provide a telecommunication links between British Colonial administration in Nigeria and their home country, Britain (Ajayi, Salawu and Raji, 1999). Thus, telephone access was severely limited to these few administrators.
The world is fast becoming a global village and a necessary tool for this process communication, of which telecommunication is a key player. The quantum development in the telecommunication industry all over the world is very rapid as one innovation replaces another in a matter of weeks. A major breakthrough is the wireless telephone system, which comes in either fixed wireless lines or the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) (Wojuade 2005).
History of GSM in Nigeria
Global System for Mobile Telecommunication (GSM) was recommended to the Military administration of General Abdulsalam Abubakar which caused Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to grant licenses to Celia Motophone Limited, Mobile Services Limited and United Networks Limited and they were charged to provide GSM network services in Nigeria.
However, the Olusegun Obasanjo administration in 1999 tagged the exercise fraudulent, revoked the licenses and introduced the telecommunication policy which empowered the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) to re-organize, auction and issue fresh licenses to successful companies who could provide for Nigerians an efficient and cost effective telephone system.
After rigorous bidding and payments of license fees of $285million, three companies, Nigeria Telecommunication plc (NITEL), MTN Nigeria and Econet Wireless were granted Digital Mobile Licence (DML) on 23rd March, 2001 with 90days deadline to start operation, operating license validity of 15years, five years exclusivity period, dual band frequency assignment, a waiver of annual operating levy (not more than 25percent of annual turnover) direct international access for the first year of operation, direct international access for own subscribers to facilitate roaming. Thus, on 7th August, 2001, Econet Wireless (now Airtel) commenced operations for GSM Services in Nigeria, followed by MTN, Nitel, Globalcom and recently Etisalat.