By ADEDEJI FAKOREDE
THE number of mobile Internet users in Nigeria has further increased to 97.7 million, about 58%, according to a new report on Internet status in the country. The report obtained by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator, indicated the country has recorded about 15 per cent growth in mobile internet subscriptions between January and end of September. According to the data, which shows that Nigeria’s mobile Internet ecosystem is gaining momentum, telecoms networks collectively boosted mobile Internet subscriptions on their networks from 81.8 million in January to 97.7 million in September, this year.
Last year, mobile Internet subscriptions increased marginally from 64 million in January to 67.1 million at the end of June, representing a growth of 4.8 per cent. According to the latest report, from 81.8 million in January, the number of GSM Internet subscriptions grew to 83.2 million in February; 85.3 million in March; 86.9 million in April 88.1 million in May and by the end of August, the figure rose to 95.3 million.
Over the seven months period, each of the GSM operators accumulated additional mobile Internet subscribers on their networks. Meanwhile, MTN has over 42 million subscribers on its network, recorded the highest number of additional mobile Internet subscriptions during the period.
According to the NCC data, MTN increased the mobile data subscriptions from 39million in January to 42 million at the end of September, representing an increase of 3million new data users during the period.
National Daily learnt that the low entry cost of smartphone, the lowering cost of the Internet and increasing penchant for mobility are key drivers for growing Internet uptake in the country. Industry analysts say the National Broadband Plan being implemented by Federal Government, through the telecoms regulator, would further help in deepening broadband penetration.
According to official data from the NCC, broadband penetration had increased from six per cent in 2013 to 10 per cent currently but with a target of 30 per cent penetration by 2018. “We have to create veritable platform for aggressively increasing access to true broadband services, whose availability have greater impact on the nation’s economy,” says Chief Executive Officer, MainOne Cables, Ms Funke Opeke.
However, in spite of the current Internet penetration, Nigeria has been comparatively ranked low in terms of connectivity level. This is according to a new connectivity index report released by a global ICT firm, Huwaei Technologies. The report, which is the second annual Global Connectivity Index (GCI) of Huawei released in Shenzhen, China, this week, ranked 50 economies in terms of connectivity, ICT usage, and digital transformation. The index focuses on a total of 38 variables such as networks, connectivity, computing, mobile adoption, digital economy, service demand and e-commerce to determine the position of each of the 50 nations. The variables are divided across four areas namely supply, demand, experience and potential being measured and analysed. The 50 countries are listed under three categories namely leaders, followers and beginners on the GCI list. According to the report, South Africa and Egypt are ranked number 33 and 36 respectively and fall under the followers’ category.