Nigeria internet users jumped 14% in year to November 2018

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Nigeria internet users rose 14 percent in the year to November 2018, according to figures available from the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC), regulator of the industry.

The number of internet subscribers in the country rose to 108.46 million last November, from 94.82 million a year earlier, according to NCC figures.

Active subscribers for data (internet) services on each of the licensed service providers utilising the different technologies showed that MTN reported 41.68 million internet users, while Globacom has 27.76 million subscribers. Airtel and 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) have 28.96 million and 10.6 million, respectively.

Among the mobile network operators, MTN and Airtel recorded the highest month-on-month increases in internet subscription with 1.7 percent and 1.5 percent increase respectively. For 9mobile total internet subscription of 10.1 million in October remained unchanged in November.

Omotola Abimbola, a research analyst at Ecobank, said the increase reflects smartphone penetration in the country. “Cheaper smartphones from Asia have been a boon to internet penetration in Africa in general and created a new and fast growing income line for telecommunications companies who are now recording double-digit growth in data revenue,” Abimbola said.

He said the increase in the number of internet users in Nigeria “could also be positive for the economy as internet penetration typically aids productivity and ecommerce.”

FBNQuest, a subsidary of the FBN group, said in its GoodMorning Nigeria publication on Thursday, January 3, 2019, that the increase in Nigeria’s internet users could have been due to the fact that “subscribers usually patronise dual-SIM mobile phones and stay connected via separate data packages on multiple networks, in order to “achieve uninterrupted internet access.”

FBNQuest said the increase in internet users “implies a density of 58 percent in a population estimated at 185 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16 percent as indicated by McKinsey.”

Data compiled from the NCC website show that the contribution of the telecommunications industry to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rose by 0.98 percentage points to 8.39 percent in Q3 2018, from7.41 percent in Q3 2017. However, last year’s third-quarter contribution was less than the 10.43 percent contribution to the country’s GDP in the second quarter of the same year.

Nigeria’s GDP grew by 1.81 percent (year-on-year) in real terms in the third quarter of 2018, driven by the non- oil sector, the country’s statistical agency said.

The non-oil sector contributed 98.62 percent of the growth in that quarter, with the oil sector contributing the remaining 9.38 percent, the National Bureau of Statistics said in a report released recently.

The number of active subscribers for telephony services on each of the licensed service providers utilising different technologies including GSM, CDMA, Fixed Wireless and landline, show that MTN had 66.97 million subscribers, which is 40 percent of the total market share, followed by Globacom with 43.27 million (26 percent) and Airtel having 43.12 million (25 percent).

9mobile, the telecommunication company which has Teology as it highest bidder has a market share of 9 percent with 15.36million active customers.

The new shareholders of Teleology are yet to fulfil all regulatory and financial requirements for the take-over of 9mobile, BusinessDay was told by a source familiar with the issue.

Umar Dambatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) confirmed this at the public hearing held recently at the instance of the House of Representatives Committee on Telecommunications chaired by Saheed Akinade-Fijabi (APC-Oyo) in Abuja.

According to Danbatta, out of the five regulatory and financial requirements, the new shareholders met only two conditions.

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