Nigeria’s internet subscribers grew by 9% in 2022, hitting 154.8m – NCC Report

The increased access to mobile devices could be the major reason for more internet users
54 African countries to converge in Abuja for Africa Internet Governance Forum

Nigeria’s internet subscribers grew by 9% in 2022. This is according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecoms regulator in the 2022 edition of its Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report. The document aims to enlighten stakeholders on the state of the telecom industry, its strengths and weaknesses particularly. 

As expected, many interesting facts were revealed. Given that some stood out, they’ll be spotlighted in this report. The regulator noted that Nigeria’s internet subscribers hit 154,847,901 subscriptions by the end of 2022. This is 12.8 million more than the previous year.  

The increased access to mobile devices could be the major reason for more internet users. A handful of good mid-range devices sell for around N100,000, a decent price point given the current economic situation. 

Also worth mentioning is the fact that more and more fintech platforms now allow consumers to access innovative financial services. Since an internet-enabled device is a prerequisite, it could also account for the rise in internet subscriptions.

Still on internet-related facts, the NCC reported a significant increase in data consumption. Compared to the end of 2021 (353,118.89 terabytes), Nigerians used a whopping 518,381.78 terabytes in 2022. Based on the above figures, there was a 46.7% increase in data usage.  

Regarding broadband penetration, the report noted that subscriptions rose from 78,041,883 in 2021(40.88%) to 90.3 million in December 2022 (47.36%). Broadband access is a major issue and despite efforts to increase the penetration, broadband access remains a tough case to solve for Nigeria. However, it has failed to make it into the 50% range. With increased broadband access comes several benefits.

NCC report

For instance, esports players in Nigeria can leverage better internet access to increase their chances of victory during international competitions. Recall that esports is a growing force in Nigeria and the rest of Africa. With faster internet, local businesses can also improve their service delivery, thus growing the economy. 

Nigeria’s broadband plan hopes to increase its penetration to 90% by 2025, a welcome development for all. Whether it’s another pipe dream remains to be seen. 

Read also: NCC directs all mobile network providers to complete implementation of harmonised shortcodes by May 17

MTN had 40% of the market share in 2022 

As of December 2022, MTN Nigeria controlled 40% of the GSM market, making it the leading player in that segment. It recorded 89 million customers in that period. 

Rivals Globacom (60,290,012 subscribers) and Airtel (60,065,904 subscribers) attained 27% respectively. EMTS was left to grasp at straws as it managed to hold 6% of the market share. Its subscriber size stood at 12.8 million. 

The NCC noted that Nigeria had 301+ thousand SIM-based subscribers. MTN accounted for 123.5 million subscribers. It was followed by Glo (65 million), Airtel (64 million), EMTS (46 million), SMILE (966 thousand), and NTEL (236 thousand). 

Market share of GSM operators

Meanwhile, the country’s teledensity also increased during the year of review. As found by the NCC, it grew from 102.40% to 116.60%. The volume of active subscribers jumped to 222,571,568 from 195,463,898, symbolizing a 13.8% difference. 

It’s worth mentioning that the popularity of the GSM segment caused the active subscribers’ volume to grow. Based on the NCC’s report, GSM (Mobile) technology owns 99.8% of the market share, leaving a paltry 0.1% for voice over internet and fixed wired/wireless technologies respectively. 

Zooming into the active subscribers’ volume, the report found that Nigeria’s South West (29%) and North Central (19%) regions accounted for the most subscriptions. The continuous trend of insecurity in the North East zone ensured that it recorded the least subscriptions. The South East had the second to the lowest subscriptions (10%). 

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