It is expected that 5G technology would further expand broadband penetration in Nigeria
Mobile internet users in Nigeria are expected to rise to 54.29 per cent in 2023, 56.44 per cent in 2024, 58.21 per cent in 2025 and 59.7 per cent in 2026 as projected in the data released by Statista.
The data shows that mobile phone users across all ages access the internet via mobile phones (browser or app) at least once in a month. In the first quarter of 2022, the number of mobile internet users was pegged at 51.59 per cent of the nation’s population.
The telcoms companies have been driving broadband penetration through their 4G service across the country, while awaiting the deployment of 5G. It is believed that the deployment of 5G would further expand the broadband penetration to the nooks and crannies of the country.
The performance of Nigeria’s telecoms operators has become so impressive, which is evident in their operations and service delivery, according to statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) as the regulatory body. It was reported that statistics of the industry performance for the period of April 2021 to March 2022 indicated impressive results in key areas of their operations used in measuring the industry performance.
For instance, broadband subscription increased from 78,082,273 in February 2022 to 80,678,301 by March 2022 while the penetration witnessed an improvement of 40.91 per cent to 42.24 per cent within the period. It was gathered that Nigeria added over four million Active Telephony Subscriptions in Q1’22 as NCC’s records indicate that telephony subscriptions increased from 195,463,898 in December 2021 to 199,558,540 in March 2022.
Nigeria’s active telephony subscriptions increased to 199,558,540 in March 2022 as against at 198,123,431 recorded in February 2022, according to updated industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission on May 19, 2022. This shows telecommunication operators welcomed 1,435,109 more subscriptions in March.
The active telephony subscribers and teledensity, which is calculated on a monthly and annual basis, showed an increased performance with the teledensity increasing from 103.79 per cent in February 2022 to 104.54 per cent in March 2022 while the active telephony subscribers moved from 198,123,431 in the same period to 199,558,540.
The active telephony subscribers and teledensity curve had been on an up and down movement during the COVID-19 and post COVID-19 period as well as during the National Identity Number (NIN) registration. Meanwhile, the internet penetration in Nigeria has been projected to rise to 70 per cent by 2025 with the services of the other Internet Service Providers (ISPs).
Currently, Nigeria has about 109 million internet users – the highest number reported all over Africa so far. The number of companies providing internet services in Nigeria has increased to 190 from 151 recorded early last year. This came as the Nigerian Communications Commission NCC) licensed more firms to bridge the internet access gaps in the country.
The rising number of ISPs is expected to boost the country’s broadband penetration target of 70 per cent by 2025. However, locations of the service providers show that most are still concentrated in the urban areas, as the digital gap between urban and rural Nigeria continues to widen.
NCC’s ISPs data showed that they are concentrated in Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Nigeria’s internet penetration rate stood at 51.0 per cent of the total population at the start of 2022. Kepios analysis indicates that internet users in Nigeria increased by 4.8 million between 2021 and February 2022.
A World Bank report had established that every 10 per cent increase in broadband penetration will improve GDP by 4.6 per cent, hence, Nigeria is expected to boost its broadband penetration by licensing more service providers and fast-track the deployment of the 5G by creating enabling environment for the technology to thrive.
The Federal Government had pledged to ensure the 5G service is available in Nigeria. NCC is expected to license ISPs that will operate in the rural areas, especially where the Nigerian sources of economy are domiciled, to complement the services of the mobile network operators in those areas.
Initially, the government policy on SIM-NIN linkage affected the implementation of the country’s broadband plan, which started in 2020, as subscriptions declined steadily for some months. For instance, broadband penetration in Nigeria declined to 39.79 per cent in July 2021 from initial 45.93 per cent in October