New Telegraph

135m Nigerians not using 3G, 4G networks

No fewer than 134 million people, representing 61.8 per cent of the total Nigerian population, are yet to use 3G and 4G networks and by extension 5G network. Despite its launch by MTN, very few people, only in Lagos State, have been able to use 5G net.

While many could not afford the 5G enabled smart phones to access the network, the company is slow in rolling out 5G SIM cards for its customers. For now, the network is mainly accessible on the MTN 5G router which is sold at N50,000 For the 3G and 4G network, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that currently, only about 83.3 million subscribers are on broadband networks of 3G and 4G.

The Commission stated that the subscribers were part of the ICT users that contributed 18.44 per cent to the total Nigerian real GDP in Q2 2022. With the figure, it shows that only 38.2 per cent of the 217,947,709 Nigerian population are on new generation broadband networks.


Based on Worldometer elaboration of the latest United Nations data, the current population of Nigeria is 217,947,709. It was expected that the rollout of 5G would boost broadband penetration and increase number of mobile users.

An analysis by New Telegraph based on the affordability of the 5G services and devices to access the network has been rendering some more residents in the coverage city inability to use the network. Only an infinitesimal number of customers with certain enabled devices could connect with and try out the new service where coverage is available.

In actual fact, just a meagre 8,989,960 Nigerians will be able to access the 5G network within at least five months of its deployment in Nigeria. New Telegraph had earlier reported that the rollout of 5G network would be in phases.

It was first rolled out by MTN in September. Is was initially supposed to be rolled out by two communication companies licensed for the launching of the technology which was earlier slated for August 24.

However, while the subscribers’ expectation was at the peak, the companies could not deliver without prior explanation for their inability to do so, only for the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms regulatory body to announce that Mafab Communications, one of the two telecommunication firms that won the 5G spectrum licences in December 2021, has been issued a five-month extension for its roll out.

NCC said Mafab was issued a five-month extension following the delays in receiving its unified operational licence (USAL) and Numbering Plan, which did not happen until the end of July. Mafab Communications Limited is a telecommunication company incorporated on July 8, 2020, and licensed by the NCC to provide and operate Local Interconnect and International carrier services. Meanwhike, on Sunday, the NCC announced that it would give another two companies licence for 5G network at a fixed reserved price of $273.60m for a 10-year tenure.

The Commission set December 19, 2022 as the auction date for the new two additional slots two slots in the 3.5GHz Spectrum band for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria. It stated that it is putting up another two slots of spectrum in the 3.5GHz Spectrum band for auction before the end of 2022, to boost deployment of 5G services in Nigeria.

The process, which was made public on October 21, 2022 with the publication of the Draft Information Memorandum (IM) for the auction on the Commission’s website, invited stakeholders to study the Memorandum for purposes of making submissions ahead of a review of the IM on November 16, 2022. With the launching of 5G by MTN, Nigeria has joined some other African countries in the deployment of the next-gen technology.

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