Nigeria: 97 million Internet users depend on GSM operators


More than 97 million subscribers who surf the Internet in the country depend on digital mobile operators deploying GSM communications technology, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.

The NCC, which disclosed in the Information Memorandum on the proposed auctioning of 2.6GHz frequency spectrum, also listed several sectors of the economy that required broadband services in order to boost the firms’ offering to consumers.

According to the regulatory agency, only a very little segment of Internet subscription in the country is catered for by technologies other than GSM.

It stated, “Nigeria currently has growing levels of Internet take-up, personal computer penetration and broadband adoption. The trend of Internet use in Nigeria shows an increase with the overall number of users rising from 1.4 per cent of population in 2004 to about 47.8 per cent by 2014, with broadband penetration at about 10 per cent in 2015. Access to PC in Nigeria was estimated at 8.1 per cent of the population in 2013.

“As of December 2015, the total active Internet subscriptions for all market segments was 97,193,247. There was a steady growth in the number of active Internet subscriptions from December 2012 to December 2015, and this growth was primarily driven by the growth in the mobile GSM market segment. The mobile GSM market segment accounted for 97,032,543 of the total active Internet subscriptions.”

The regulatory authority listed government services that required adequate broadband Internet services to include the issuance of the national identity card, driver licence and registration of companies, among many others.

Meanwhile, latest figures for new Internet subscribers showed that Globacom cornered 95 per cent of all new subscribers in January.

The company led with 354,178 out of the total number of 373,835 new Internet subscribers, which the four major operators added to their base in January as published on the website of the NCC, the industry regulator.

Airtel gained 19,657 new subscribers, while Etisalat and MTN lost 94,115 and 1,705,878 data customers, respectively during the period.

In the 12 months to January, Globacom gained 7,251,657 new Internet subscribers, representing 53 per cent of the total 13,644,000 million new customers of the four major operators. Etisalat, with 5,431,190 new data customers, came second, while Airtel occupied third position with 961,548 new data customers during the period.

However, MTN was the biggest loser with a total of 1,059,160 data subscribers leaving the network in the last one year.
Source: The Punch 15 March 2016