The number of connected telephone lines in Nigeria has risen to 325 million as of February 2023. Additional nine million lines were registered by tele- coms operators between December 2022 and February 2023 as the number grew from 316 million at the end of last year to 325 million as of February this year. Statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that operators activated additional 953,192 Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards in February to increase the number of active telephone lines in the country to 226.8 million out of 325 million connected lines. It was 225.8 million in January, 2023.
As of the end of 2022, the number of active lines was 22.2 million out of the total 316 million connected lines. The active lines increased to 226 million in January, 2023 and 226.8 million in February of the same year. This newly released industry statistics by the NCC revealed further that the country’s teledensity also increased by 0.5 per cent, from 118.51 per cent in January with total subscriptions of 226,226,754 to 119.01 per cent by the end of February with 227,179,946 subscriptions. The number of subscriptions as of December, 2022 was 222,571,568 while teledensity was put at 116.60per cent. Teledensity is the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area.
The 226.8 million, according to NCC, were a combination of services from GSM, Fixed Wired/ Wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). As of January, penetration on these gateways showed that Mobile (GSM) has 99.84 per cent penetration; Fixed Wired 0.05 per cent and VoIP 0.12 per cent. Internet subscriptions on the narrow band leaped by the addition of 745,703, moving from 155.6 million in January to 156.4 mil- lion a month after, with Internet Service Providers only able to service 204,810 customers in the country. The analysis of the data showed that MTN maintained its leadership of the telecoms mar- ket, whose worth is put at excess of $75 billion. Specifically, MTN with 92.71 million mobile sub- scriptions, enjoys 40.87 per cent market reach; followed by Airtel with 60.7 million users and 26.78 per cent penetration.
Globacom is third with 60.30 million and 26.58 per cent nation- wide reach, while 9mobile with 13.07 million and 6.76 per cent penetration remains the fourth largest operator in Nigeria.
For the broadband penetration, there was only a 0.29 per cent increase from 48.20 per cent in January to 48.49 per cent in February, 2023 with actual number of users in the country moved from 92 million to 92.5 million in the period under re- view. The Federal Government through the New National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020 to 2025) has targeted 70 per cent penetration and 90 per cent population coverage by 2025. With the current figure, the country will need to increase its broadband penetration by additional 21.51 per cent to meet up with the 2025 target of 70 per cent.
Meanwhile the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami has reiterated the government’s commitment to realise the 70 per cent target for broadband penetration in Nigeria by 2025. Speaking at a forum in Abuja recently, the Minister said Digital Economy Policy and Strategy for digital Nige- ria cannot be achieved with- out broadband penetration in the country. According to him, “whatever we do we rely so much on broadband penetration.
That is why any effort to complement what we have been doing to ensure broadband penetration, even for one kilometer is highly commendable, we do not undermine it, we really appreciate it.” He said the responsibility of building the ICT sector did not lie on government alone, noting that ICT globally is be- ing supported and developed by the private sector.
“The main responsibility of government is to ensure that the environment is fa- vorable and conducive and if there are any challenges, the government will intervene. This is what we will continue to do and I assure you within the time I am going to spend here, I will give 100 per cent to ensure that all the challenges we encounter are addressed,” he said. He expressed assurance that the deployment of 5G network in the country would further push the broadband penetration and that the country may even surpass its 2025 70 per cent target.