Nigeria’s active internet connections increased by 2.7 million in the first quarter of 2023

Article Summary Internet subscriptions across all networks in Nigeria increased by 2.7 million to 157.5 million in the first quarter. Despite the availability of various networks offering internet services, the cellular network remained the dominant network through which Nigerians access the internet. Meanwhile, high-speed Internet subscriptions also rose during the quarter, taking the country’s broadband penetration to 21%.

Active subscriptions to the Internet across mobile, landline and VoIP networks in Nigeria increased by 2.7 million in the first quarter of this year.

In the first quarter of this year, Nigeria saw active internet subscriptions increase by 2.7 million, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reported. This brought the country’s total number of internet connections to 157.5 million by the end of March, compared to 154.8 million in December 2022. The increase represents a growth rate of 1.7% over the period.

Among the internet service providers, the major mobile network operators MTN, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile continued to dominate the market with a total of 156.9 million subscriptions. In addition, VoIP operators Smile and Ntel accounted for 340,614 Internet subscriptions, while other ISPs contributed 221,267 subscriptions.

These numbers underscore the continued expansion of internet connectivity in Nigeria and the continued dominance of mobile network operators in providing internet services to the population. The steady growth in internet subscriptions demonstrates the increasing reliance on digital connectivity and its importance in various aspects of daily life and business activities in the country.

Broadband subscriptions on the rise

Meanwhile, broadband subscriptions, that is, high-speed Internet services, also rose from 90.4 million in December last year to 92 million at the end of the first quarter of 2023. This put the country’s broadband penetration at 48.21% at the end of March.

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The increase in broadband subscriptions shows that the country’s efforts are bearing fruit through the implementation of the National Broadband Plan (NBP 2020-2025). In the plan, the government had set a target of 70% broadband penetration by 2025.

Telecom companies are driving broadband penetration by rolling out their 4G service across the country.

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what you should know

A World Bank report found that every 10% increase in broadband penetration would increase a country’s GDP by at least 4.6%.

Therefore, the rapid rollout of broadband services in Nigeria is expected to address various socio-economic challenges faced by the country, including the need to expand its economy, expand the tax base, and improve digital skills and educational standards.

As the country rolled out its broadband plan, which began in 2020, subscriptions had been falling steadily for months at times due to the government’s SIM card policy.

Broadband penetration in Nigeria fell from a peak of 45.93% in October 2020 to 39.79% in July 2021. Between November 2020 and October 2021, service providers lost a total of 9.9 million broadband subscriptions.

Prior to the 2020 ban on new SIM cards, the country had seen a 1% increase each month as mobile network operators continued to push for the nationwide rollout of 4G services.