Nigeria had 159.5 million internet users in July 2023.

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Active subscriptions for the internet across mobile, fixed and VOIP networks in Nigeria rose to 159.5 million in July this year.

According to the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), this, however, represents only a 0.02% growth when compared with the 159.4 million recorded in June.

The NCC’s data reveals that the mobile network operators MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile maintained their dominance of the internet market with 158.9 million internet subscriptions, leaving other players with less than a million connections.

VOIP operators, which include Smile Communications and Ntel accounted for 326,241 internet connections as of July, while other internet service providers (ISPs) accounted for 204,810 internet subscriptions. The ISPs’ connection figure is, however, as of December 2022, according to NCC.

No growth in broadband
Despite the slight increase in the total internet connections, the data shows that there was no growth in broadband in the month as subscriptions to high-speed internet services remained static. Broadband subscriptions in July stood at 89.7 million, the same as recorded in June.

The country’s broadband penetration level also remained static at 47.01% despite an ongoing implementation of the Nigeria National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025). Through the implementation of the Plan, the federal government is targeting 70% broadband penetration by 2025.

To that end, the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC Prof. Umar Danbatta, recently declared that the Commission would be providing industry leadership to push broadband penetration in the country to well above 50% by the end of this year.

According to him, the Commission would also ensure that Nigeria achieves 90% broadband coverage and 70% penetration by the year 2025 in line with the National Broadband Policy. He, however, pointed out that the country would also need to attract more investments in infrastructure to bring these targets to reality.

What you need to know.
A World Bank report established that every 10% increase in broadband penetration in any country would improve its GDP by at least 4.6%. Hence, the rapid rollout of broadband services in Nigeria is expected to address various socio-economic challenges the country faces, including the need to grow its economy, expand the tax base, and improve digital literacy and educational standards.

Amidst the implementation of the country’s broadband plan, which started in 2020, subscriptions had declined steadily at some points for months as a result of the government’s policy on SIM cards.

From a peak point of 45.93% in October 2020, broadband penetration in Nigeria slipped to 39.79% in July 2021. Between November 2020 and October 2021, the service providers lost a total of 9.9 million broadband subscriptions.

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