Broadband Penetration: Nigeria records 5.34% in 10 months

Between February and November, 2022, broadband penetration in Nigeria grew by 5.34 per cent from 40.9 per cent to 46.24 per cent. In a data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the broadband penetration grew month on month from 44.55 per cent in October, 2022 with 86.95 million subscribers to 46.24 per cent in November of the same year. The number of subscribers rose from 86.95 million to 88.27 million within the one month. But between December, 2021 and November, 2022, it grew by 13.11 per cent from 78.04 million to 88.27 million in November 2022. In the last two years, the broadband penetration has increased by 7.75 per cent as it at 38.49 per cent when the broadband plan was launched in 2020.

When it was launched, the NCC targeted 70 per cent penetration by 2025. With the current figure, the country will need additional 23.76 per cent to meet the national target in the next three years. While it seems that the growth is slow, industry analysts said it would take strenuous efforts to achieve the 23.76 per cent by 2025 even with the deployment of 5G network unless the government strives further to expand the telecoms infrastructure to the rural and unserved areas across the country.

The data also indicated that the number of telephone users grew from 197,499,028 or 103.46 per cent in January 2022 to 204,578,953 or 107.17 per cent in May 2022 before hitting the current 214,696,227 (112.47 per cent) in October 2022, and increases to 218.6 million in November 2022. The latest industry data indicated that the increase was largely driven by MTN, which recorded the highest number of 3.1 million subscriptions in November. According to the commission, the four GSM operators, MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile, recorded a combined 4.2 million increase in subscriptions in November just as the country’s active mobile subscription database stood at 214.3 million in October. Based on the positive trend, the commission reported that the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also increased from 112.47 per cent in October to 114.07 per cent in November 2022.

The NCC’s statistical data further reflected that MTN, which is the largest operator by subscriber number, gained 3.1 million new subscriptions in November, thereby increasing the telco’s total active customer database to 86.4 million from the 83.2 million it recorded in October. A further analysis of the data indicated that Airtel added 713,865 new subscriptions in the month under review. The telco’s active customer database rose to 59.3 million at the end of November from 58.6 million in October. Also, Glo also recorded a 312,274 increase in subscriptions in the month to maintain its position as the second-largest operator.

The new activations on the network brought Glo’s total subscriptions to 59.9 million from the 59.6 million it recorded in October. The report further showed that in the month under review, 9mobile gained new subscriptions for the first time in several months with its subscriptions database increasing by 69,812 to 12.8 in November. Meanwhile, both MTN and Airtel said they have invested a combined N468.96 billion in expanding broadband infrastructure within nine months in 2022. They disclosed this in their respective financial reports for the third quarter of 2022. MTN stated that it deployed 8230 4G sites and 218 5G sites within the period. It stated: “Capital expenditure in the period was N379 billion, up by 45.2 per cent, due to accelerated coverage expansion focusing on the 4G and 5G networks and our rural telephony programme.” For Airtel, it stated: “The enhanced 4G network and ample data network capacity to provide high-speed data has helped us to grow our data customer base. “As we continued our 4G network rollout, nearly all our sites in Nigeria (99 per cent) now deliver 4G.”

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