Nigeria’s Internet subscriber data hits 50.58 million
“This is a great improvement for Nigeria and it’s business landscape, the market is being opened up more and more. Guess who has the highest number of subscribers………… MTN”
Internet subscriber data in Nigeria on the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication and Code Division Multiple Access platforms is now 50,580,711.
The most recent statistics by the Nigerian Communications Commission placed Internet subscription on GSM networks at 50.4 million while that of CDMA networks were put at 168,152.
The data, which covered up till July this year, had MTN dominating Internet subscription for GSM players with a 25.9 million figure. This was followed by Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat with 9.88 million, 9.25 million and 5.35 million figures respectively.
Visafone dominated the CDMA figure with 130,257 Internet subscribers; while Starcomms and Multilinks followed with 21,682 and 16,213 respectively.
As of July last year, the aggregate Internet subscription for GSM and CDMA networks was put at 26.6 million. GSM networks had 26.3 million, while CDMA networks had 239,984.
However, the number of active telephone lines in the country fell by 5,601,812 in July, putting the number of active subscribers at 114,760,406.
As of the end of June this year, the figure was put at 120,362,218, indicating a decline of 386,536 lines from the 120,748,754 active lines recorded in May.
This, therefore, depicts an inverse relationship between the number of active telephone lines and number of Internet subscription for the period under focus.
The active telephone line figures for March and April were put at 117,281,669 and 119,356,665 respectively by the NCC.
The decline was reflected across board, affecting the GSM operators, CDMA operators and fixed/fixed wireless operators.
The number of GSM lines fell to 111,866,933 in July, from 117,412,363 recorded in June, while active CDMA lines fell to 2,519,602 from 2,567,177 in the same period. Active fixed/fixed wireless dropped to 373,871 from the 382,678 recorded in June.
The country’s teledensity is now 81.97 per cent. By NCC’s last statistics, it was 85.97 per cent.
Teledensity is the percentage of connected lines in relation to the population at a given period of time, and its growth is proportionate to the growth in the subscriber base.
For GSM operators, MTN has maintained its lead with 55,238,430 active lines, followed by Globacom, 25,019,862; Airtel, 21,591,904; and Etisalat, 15,303,647.
According to the NCC, the percentage of GSM, CDMA and fixed/fixed wireless lines are 97.55 per cent, 2.13 per cent and 0.32 per cent, respectively.
The industry ended 2012 with a combined subscriber base of 113.1 million, up from 95.8 million active subscriptions in January of the same year.
The NCC data, however, showed that only the GSM operators contributed to the addition in subscriber base, as the CDMA and fixed line operators recorded declines in the first quarter.
The CDMA operators comprising Visafone, Multi-Links, Starcomms and the dormant ZoomMobile, experienced a reduction in their subscriber base from 2.9 million lines in December 2012 to 2.8 million lines as of the end of January 2013.
While a little over N1tn was spent on telephone services in 2011, subscribers spent N1.14tn on the services in 2012.
With the decline being experienced in the industry lately, experts say revenue accruable to operators might also decline significantly by the end of 2013.
Just this month, Nigeria joined the Alliance for Affordable Internet, an organisation that aims to make the Internet more affordable in developing countries where the cost of access remains a barrier for majority of the populace.
This, therefore, according to experts, has the capacity to further boost the level of Internet subscription in the country.
The alliance, which was inaugurated in Nigeria at the ongoing 2013 Annual Conference of Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, says the aim of the association is to bring down the cost of Internet access so that two-thirds of the world’s population can also enjoy broadband Internet.
The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, represents Nigeria in the alliance, which has global technology companies such as Cisco, Microsoft, Google, Alcatel and Intel as members.
Countries that have signed up for membership of the alliance include the United Kingdom, the United States, Sweden and Kenya.
Currently, broadband Internet could take as much as 30 per cent of a household’s income in some African countries. This alliance aims to bring down the average cost of access to five per cent of households’ monthly income.
BY STANLEY OPARA