Business

Telcos connect 1m broadband users in one month

Penetration hits 40.14%

 

 

GROWTH

Deployment of 4G infrastructure by network operators boosts the country’s broadband growth

 

 

T

elecommunications operators in the country hooked one million new customers to high-speed internet in May, New Telegraph has learnt.

 

 

This brought the total number of broadband users in the country to 76.6 million from 75.6 million recorded in April.

 

 

According to the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s broadband penetration stood at 40.14 per cent as of May ending. The growth may not be unconnected with the telecoms operators’ aggressive push for deployment of 4G service across the country.

 

 

To extend the service to more Nigerians, the largest mobile network operator in the country, MTN recently announced more investments targeted at building more 4G infrastructure. MTN said it plans to spend an estimated N600 billion on technical infrastructure over the next three years as it looks to expand its 4G coverage across the entire country by 2024.

 

 

The Federal Government also recently launched a new National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) with a target of achieving 70 per cent penetration in the next five years. This followed the expiration of the NBP 2013-2018, which delivered 31 per cent penetration as of December 2018.

 

 

Aside from the 70 per cent penetration target, the government in the new plan also raised the benchmark speed for broadband service in Nigeria to 25 megapixels per second, which is an improvement from the 1.5mbps benchmark in the 2013-2018 plan.

 

 

According to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, “this new broadband plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria, a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025.”

 

 

This means that broadband users in a city like Lagos would be able to download 1gigabyte video under one minute, while people in the rural areas would be able to download the same in 160 seconds.

 

 

Speaking further on the country’s broadband plan, Pantami said broadband penetration was key to reviving the Nigerian economy. Citing reports from the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, the Minister said 10 per cent broadband penetration in any country will improve its GDP by at least 4.6 per cent. With coronavirus spreading across the globe and more people living in isolation, the minister said the digital and information communication sector is providing alternatives for people to stay in touch and institutions to provide the needed basic life-saving services to the populace.

 

 

He added that the NBP addresses three of the eight priorities that the Federal Government assigned to the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, and the parastatals under its purview, for implementation.

 

 

“These priorities are the implementation of broadband connectivity and execution of a plan to deploy 4G across the country, as well as the development and implementation of digital economy policy and strategy,” he stated.

 

 

Meanwhile, the total number of Nigerians connected to the internet across mobile, fixed wired and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) rose significantly in May to hit 141.2 million. According to the NCC statistics, the telecommunications operators added 2.4 million new internet customers in the month.

 

 

According to the NCC’s data, the mobile networks, MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile remained the preferred choice of connectivity by many Nigerians as the mobile network operators accounted for 99.7 per cent of the internet subscriptions. While mobile internet subscriptions as of May stood at 140.8 million, subscriptions over fixed wired and VoIP stood at 396,504.

 

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