MTN Nigeria, the country’s largest cellco by subscribers and part of South Africa’s MTN (which has 70 million customers in 21 countries), will invest at least US$1.5 billion on its network this year in order to boost its carrying capacity and to improve the quality of service on its network, according to its Corporate Service, Wale Goodluck.  MTN Nigeria has invested in building up transmission networks over the past four years in order to make up for the country’s lack of telecoms infrastructure, said Goodluck, who went on to note that the firm’s wireless subscriber base has grown rapidly over the past three years.  In fact, according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, the company had 20.17 million customers in September 2008, up from 14.95 million a year earlier.

Per various reports, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Communications, Professor Dora Akunyili said earlier this month that in spite of the much talked about telecommunications boom, the industry was still replete with recurring problems, including dropped calls, poor voice signal quality and lack of adequate interconnectivity.  The ministry also cites operational costs to service providers, and vandalism of infrastructure as two glaring problems facing the industry.

According to figures from the Mobile World database, MTN ended last September with just over 20 million mobile phone subscribers – and a market share of 36%. The country itself has a population penetration level of 40%.