Internet Subscriptions

Nigeria Sees Surge in Internet Subscriptions and Broadband Penetration, Mobile Operators Dominate Market


Notable Highlights:

  • Internet subscriptions in Nigeria rose by 2.7 million in Q1 2023, reaching a total of 157.5 million by March.
  • Major mobile network operators, including MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile, hold a combined total of 156.9 million subscriptions.
  • Broadband subscriptions increase to 92 million, boosting broadband penetration to 48.21% by the end of Q1.

In a remarkable development, Nigeria experienced a significant upswing in internet subscriptions during the first quarter of this year. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported that active internet connections surged by 2.7 million, propelling the country’s total subscriptions to 157.5 million by March—compared to 154.8 million in December 2022. This growth rate of 1.7% underscores the expanding reliance on digital connectivity in Nigeria.

The Dominance of Mobile Operators: 

The market in Nigeria continues to be dominated by major mobile network operators such as MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile, who collectively hold a staggering 156.9 million subscriptions. Additionally, VOIP operators Smile and Ntel contribute 340,614 subscriptions, while other ISPs account for 221,267 subscriptions. These figures illustrate the ongoing expansion of internet connectivity in Nigeria and the continued dominance of mobile network operators.

Impressive Broadband Subscriptions: 

Simultaneously, the country witnessed an upward trend in broadband subscriptions, with high-speed internet service surpassing 92 million by the end of Q1 2023—a notable increase from the 90.4 million recorded in December 2022. Consequently, Nigeria’s broadband penetration reached 48.21% by March, indicating progress towards the government’s target of achieving 70% broadband penetration by 2025.

Economic and Social Implications: 

The World Bank’s report highlights the positive impact of broadband penetration on a country’s GDP, with a 10% increase resulting in at least a 4.6% GDP improvement. Therefore, Nigeria’s rapid broadband rollout is expected to address socio-economic challenges, including stimulating economic growth, expanding the tax base, and enhancing digital literacy and education standards.

Challenges and Progress: 

Nigeria faced certain setbacks in broadband subscriptions due to government policies on SIM cards, leading to a decline in subscriptions. However, with the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) and the resumption of SIM card registrations, subscriptions have rebounded. Despite previous declines, the country is steadily marching towards its broadband penetration goals.

Mobile Operators Driving Broadband Penetration: 

Telecommunication companies are playing a crucial role in driving broadband penetration by expanding their 4G services across Nigeria. This strategic effort aligns with the objectives set forth in the National Broadband Plan, which commenced in 2020.

Nigeria is paving the way for socio-economic progress by propelling internet subscriptions and broadband penetration, including economic growth, an expanded tax base, and improved digital literacy and education. The ongoing efforts in the telecommunications sector hold the potential to transform the country’s future.

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