The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) recently released data has revealed a decline in the industry’s several metrics; this includes broadband penetration, active internet subscribers, teledensity, and a few others. Broadband adoption in Nigeria fell from 48.28% (92,169,176 subscribers) to 47.01% (89,730,341 subscribers) in June 2023, a reduction of 1.27%. Notably, this is the lowest percentage of individuals with access to the internet since November 2022, which is 88,273.293 subscribers. Among GSM, CDMA, Fixed (Wireless), ISP, and VoIP networks, the NCC reports a total of 159,498,826 active subscriptions.
When compared to the total number of subscriptions that were registered in the country in May of 2023, this decrease in numbers is rather minor. A rundown of the numbers can be found as follows. VOIP had 328,657 subscribers, while ISPs had 208,612 users, GSM had 158,944,660 subscribers, and CDMA had zero subscribers. Fixed (Wireless) recorded 16,897 users. In a similar vein, the figures on teledensity and subscribers for June 2023 indicated a decrease to 220,086,951 (115.30%) from 221,258,372 (115.91%). With the data above, there is a discrepancy of 0.61 percent.
MTN Nigeria leads with 38.52% of the market share as of June 2023.
According to the data provided by the NCC, the telecom provider maintained number one despite suffering losses of 2.5 million customers in April 2023 and 1 million or more users in May 2023, respectively. MTN Nigeria possessed 38.52 percent of the market share as of June 2023, which equated to 84,663,653 users. Glo was in second position with 27.91% of the total 61,333,528 users, and Airtel was just behind them with 27.39% of the total 60,190,732 subscribers. 9mobile occupied the last spot in the standings with a market share of only 6.18% (13,578,431 subscribers).
Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service provider Smile, however, experienced a decrease of 5,854 customers between May 2023 (228,777) and June 2023 (222,923). Another VoIP service provider, NTEL, lost users in recent months, going to 878 in June from 1,066 in May. In June of 2023, Nigeria’s total number of VoIP subscribers was 223,801. According to the report, the mobile telecoms market in Nigeria is the largest. On the other hand, the efforts made by both the government and internet service providers have not yet shown any outcomes that are substantial in terms of expanding broadband access.
As of May 2023, 48.28% of the country has broadband access.
However, one may recall that Nigeria’s former President Muhammadu Buhari made the wrong assertion that the country’s broadband penetration had reached 100% after the deployment of Starlink, a product developed by SpaceX. Nevertheless, the percentage of people with broadband access in the country has never been higher than 48.28% as of May 2023. Although internet coverage has increased, particularly due to the launch (and deployment) of 5G internet services by MTN and, more recently, by Airtel, penetration is still some distance behind the target.
While the NCC report did not specify what constraints are preventing more widespread adoption of broadband, it is important to note that there are some. Firstly, the price of internet subscriptions is too high for countless Nigerians. The rising cost of data plans combined with rising unemployment and recent controversial policies, such as the elimination of petroleum subsidies. The report found that consistent with the idea, Nigerians still pay more for weaker internet. However, another report stated that Africa has both the most costly and cheapest broadband packages in the world.
Telecom tax should be revised for people to afford the internet.
In order to address this problem, governments should think about reducing telecommunications companies’ tax burden. Because to cover the expense of taxes, telecom companies often raise data rates for their customers. More Nigerians would be able to afford the packages if their tax system were revised. The government and the private sector should also work together to upgrade the telecommunications infrastructure. The goal of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (2020-2025) is to increase broadband penetration in Nigeria to 90%. Given the existing situation, a lot more work is required to reach that goal.