Broadband penetration in Nigeria now stands at 43.3 per cent, data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed. According to the latest industry statistics, the country in August inched towards its 90 per cent penetration target by 1.28 per cent in the month.
According to the NCC’s report, telecommunications operators in the country added 2.4 million subscriptions to their broadband database in the month to raise the figure from 80.2 million recorded in July to 82.6 million in August. Aside from the broadband subscriptions, telecommunications operators in the country have geometric growth in data service subscriptions.
The NCC’s data showed that the total number of subscriptions for data across mobile, fixed wired and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also rose significantly in August to hit 149.7 million. According to the NCC’s report, the telecommunications operators added 2.6 million new internet customers in the month.
While the data subscriptions had been on a steady increase in the last one year as the telcos aggressively push for the deployment of 4G infrastructure, the current COVID-19 crisis has forced many Nigerians to depend heavily on the internet for several needs.
According to the NCC’s data, the mobile networks, MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile, remain the preferred choice of connectivity by many Nigerians as the mobile network operators accounted for 99.7 per cent of the internet subscriptions. While mobile internet subscriptions as of August stood at 149.3 million, subscriptions over fixed wired and VoIP stood at 433,267. The report showed that MTN added 1.6 million new internet customers in the month.
The telco, which had the largest subscriber both for voice and internet recorded a total of 63.8 million internet customers as of August this year. Airtel also came second in terms of internet customers as it added 738,462 new subscriptions, which brought its customer base to 39.7 million. Globacom added 231,341 new internet subscriptions in the month, which brought the telco’s total internet customers to 38.5 million.
9mobile maintained the fourth position as it gained 32,621 internet subscriptions in the month to record a total of 7.1 million. Meanwhile, the steady growth in broadband penetration in the country has been attributed to the telecom operators’ aggressive push for deployment of 4G service across the country.
To extend the service to more Nigerians, the largest mobile network operator in the country, MTN recently announced more investments targeted at building more 4G infrastructure. MTN said it plans to spend an estimated N600 billion on technical infrastructure over the next three years as it looks to expand its 4G coverage across the entire country by 2024.
The Federal Government also recently launched a new National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025) with a target of achieving 70 per cent penetration in the next five years. This followed the expiration of the NBP 2013-2018, which delivered 31 per cent penetration as of December 2018.
Aside from the 70 per cent penetration target, the government in the new plan also raised the benchmark speed for broadband service in Nigeria to 25 megapixels per second, which is an improvement from the 1.5mbps benchmark in the 2013-2018 plan.
According to the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, “this new broadband plan is designed to deliver data download speeds across Nigeria, a minimum of 25Mbps in urban areas, and 10Mbps in rural areas, with effective coverage available to at least 90 per cent of the population by 2025.”
This means that broadband users in a city like Lagos would be able to download 1gigabyte video under one minute, while people in the rural areas would be able to download the same in 160 seconds