Nigeria Maintains Steady Growth in Teledensity, Mobile Internet Subscription

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By Emma Okonji

Nigerian telecoms subscribers maintained a steady growth in teledensity and mobile internet subscription in the last half of 2017, according to statistics released obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.

The statistics, obtained from NCC’s website, showed that both teledensity and the number of mobile internet subscription, grew from July to December 2017, bringing the total number of subscriber teledensity to 103.61 per cent, as at December 2017, up from 79.39 per cent in July 2017. The number of mobile internet subscription also rose from 91.4 million in July 2017 to 98. 4 million in December 2017.
In technical parlance, teledensity is the number of active telephone connections per one hundred inhabitants living within an area and is expressed as a percentage figure.

The NCC’s statistics revealed the sum total of all active telephony subscribers and teledensity as calculated on monthly and annual basis.
Mobile internet subscription is best described as the active online presence of subscribers, connected to the internet though mobile devices, like mobile phones and tablets.
Teledensity and mobile internet subscription assumed new growth in the last six months in 2017, after a deep in the first six months in 2017, which was largely attributed to the effect of recession that Nigeria had during 2016 and in early part of 2017.

According to the statistics, in July last year, the total number of telecoms subscribers across networks was 139.1 million, with a teledensity of 79.39 per cent. In August, number of subscribers rose slightly to 139.4 million, with a slight increase in teledensity of 99.6 per cent. In September, subscriber number rose to 139.9 million, with teledensity of 99.9 per cent. In October, subscriber number also increased to 140.7 million, with increase in teledensity of 100.5 per cent. In November, subscriber number surpassed that of October figure, to reach 142.3 million, with increased teledensity of 101.66 per cent, while in December, the number of subscribers also increased to 145.1 million, with increased teledensity of 103.6 per cent.

The statistics shows that telecoms subscribers number and teledensity reached their peak at 155.1 million and 110.8 per cent repetitively, in January 2017, before nose diving between the months of February and July in 2017. As at July, subscriber number was as low as 139.1 million, with a teledensity 79.39 per cent, before the figures started picking up again.

Mobile internet subscription, which also maintained a steady growth in the last six months in 2017, was 91.4 million in July, 92.2 million in August, 92.9 million in September, 93.9 million in October, 94.8 million in November and 98.4 million as at December 2017. A breakdown of the December figure of 98.4 million mobile internet subscription, shows that MTN had the highest number of mobile internet subscribers on its network, totaling 36.1 million, followed by Globacom with 26.9 million mobile internet subscribers, Airtel with 23.9 million mobile internet subscribers and 9mobile with 11.3 million mobile internet subscribers on its network.

MTN also has the highest number of voice subscribers on its network, totaling 52.3 million subscribers, with a market share of 36 per cent, as at December 2017, followed by Globacom with a total subscription number of 38.2 million subscribers and a market share of 26 per cent. Airtel has 37.2 million subscribers with a market share of 26 per cent, while 9mobile has a 16.9 million subscribers on its network with a market share of 12 per cent.

Commending the growth in teledensity and mobile internet subscription across networks, experts attributed the growth in online presence among African countries on the availability and affordability of mobile devices, occasioned by the fact that Africans are majorly mobile dependent people.

The growth in mobile internet subscription could also be likened to recent statistics about the increased internet presence among African countries, as released by Google, which ranked Nigeria highest in online presence in Africa, above South Africa and Kenya. The Google research study also ranked Nigeria among the top three countries of the world that spend quality time online in search of various goods and services.