Nigeria’s broadband penetration hits 48% contrary to FG’s previous claim of 100%

Godfrey Elimian
Nigeria’s broadband penetration monthly growth rate just 0.5%
Nigeria's broadband penetration hits 48% contrary to FG's previous claim of 100%

According to recently released figures by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria’s broadband penetration reached 48% from 41% last January, as broadband penetration in the country totalled 92,011,259 million.

This is, however, contrary to the assertion made by the Federal Government. In January, President Muhammadu Buhari said the government had achieved 100% broadband penetration across Nigeria at a Digital Economy Conference tagged: “Promoting a Vibrant Digital Economy, A Catalyst for Economic Growth in Nigeria” in Abuja.

According to him, from 23 per cent coverage in 2019, this administration increased the broadband by 77 per cent in 2022 and 100 per cent in 2023.

In an attempt to ascertain the average growth rate of Nigeria’s broadband penetration since June 2022, we discovered that the average growth rate of Nigeria’s broadband penetration was about 0.5%. This means it would take Nigeria 45 months to achieve its goal of reaching the national broadband target of 70%, projected by 2025.

Broadband penetration: Nigeria hits 48%, contrary to FG's 100% declaration

Also, the number of active telephone subscribers in the country has grown to 226.226,754. The teledensity figure – the number of active subscribers over the estimated population, has also risen to 118.51%.

According to this statistic, the country’s active telephone subscriber base rose by around 5% from January 2021 to January 2022. This indicates a 5% increase from the previous year in the number of persons who have had themselves linked to a telephone network in the nation, going by the estimated population of 190,000,000.

For the number of active subscribers for data (internet) services on each licensed service provider utilizing the different technologies, the data revealed that GSM subscriptions to the internet had reached 155,675,178 million in January this year.

In total, while putting other mobile internet infrastructure together (fixed wired, ISP -wired & wireless, VoIP), internet subscriptions have risen to 156,244,368 million, compared to 143,564,481 million, which was the figure for January 2021. The country had a year-on-year growth rate of about 6% for internet subscriptions.

Broadband penetration: Active telephone subscribers in the country has grown to 226, 226, 754 million.
Subscriber figures – NCC

Read also: FG launches provision of broadband infrastructure for 22 Higher institutions, MSMEs

MTN maintains growth

It will take a while before another telecommunication company unseats MTN as the dominant player in Nigeria, going by the figures.

MTN holds the largest market share of Nigeria’s mobile subscribers, with about 91,950,307 million subscribers. The figure represents 40% of the total active telephone service subscribers on each licensed service provider using different technologies, including GSM, CDMA, Fixed Wireless and Fixed Wired (i.e. Landline).

With 60,563,767 million users, Airtel is the second-largest provider (26.81%), followed by Globacom and 9mobile, which have respective market shares of 26.71% (60,334,534) and 5.77% (13,031,585).

Last year, being the first, MTN switched on its highly anticipated Fifth-Generation (5G) service at one hundred and ninety sites across the country but mainly in Lagos and Abuja, with some users reporting internet speeds of up to 1.4g per second.

Airtel was also recently awarded its 5G spectrum, and it claims with that acquisition comes its capacity to expand its network capabilities and roll out 5G to accommodate the growth of data usage in the country.

Read also: Broadband penetration in Nigeria reached 44.5% in July, NCC says

NCC’s broadband projections

According to the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 inaugurated by Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami, under the directives of President Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria targets covering at least 90% of the population and
penetration rate of 70% by the end of the plan’s lifetime.

Telecoms operators ask NCC for increase in tariff

According to President Buhari, the plan is sponsored based on the projection that every 10% increase in broadband penetration results in about 2.6% to 3.8% growth in GDP.

With the arrival of Elon Musk’s Starlink, the Minister had claimed that that goal was already reached, given that Nigerians now had access to high-speed internet anywhere in the nation. But this is, however, not the case going by the released stats.

At the time, the Minister should have said that Starlink gives Nigeria 100% satellite broadband coverage.

With the Buhari administration coming to an end soon, it remains to be seen or ascertained if the next administration would build on the infrastructures and successes recorded in the communications industry,

The sector is currently one of the top 7 contributing sectors to the Nigerian economy, contributing about 12.85% to the country’s total GDP.

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