Nigeria has witnessed a surge in internet subscribers, reaching a five-year high. The surge was attributed to the recent adjustment in the country’s population numbers by the Nigeria Population Commission (NPC).
The adjusted figures from 190 million individuals in 2017 to 216.7 million individuals in 2023 caused the telecoms regulators to delay its industry statistics for five months, just to align with international best practices.
The latest data reveals that internet subscriptions grew by 53.7 percent from 106.4 million in September 2018 to 160.1 million of 216.7 million Nigerians that had internet access in September 2023.
However, the active voice subscription statistics witnessed a marginal growth from 220,361,186 in August to 221,769,883 as of September 2023.
Based on the updated telecoms indicator by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), telephone density (teledensity) in Nigeria has dropped from 115.63 percent to 102.30 percent.
Teledensity is an index prescribed by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for the measurement of telephone penetration in a population by a factor of one line per 100 individuals in the population.
Reuben Mouka, director of public affairs in a statement noted that despite the drop in teledensity, Nigeria witnessed a steady increase in active voice and Internet subscriptions.
“With the consequential adjustment, which is in line with the ITU’s calculation of teledensity, the nation’s teledensity dropped from 115.63 percent to 102.30 percent in September, while Broadband penetration witnessed a similar drop from 45.47 percent to 40.85 percent in the same month.
In 2022, BusinessDay reported a sluggish growth in the broadband penetration rate in Nigeria, despite the release of the National Broadband Plan by the former Minister of Communication, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, three years prior. The anticipated acceleration in broadband adoption appears to be progressing at a slower pace than initially expected.
However, Bosu Tijani, who heads the ministry now is positive that the broadband penetration rate will reach 70 percent by 2025 as indicated in his Strategic Blueprint plan.
According to the commission, the adjustment will be reflected in the telecoms industry statistical reports of September, October, and November 2023 and going forward.
“In October 2023 the industry also experienced a 0.19 percent growth in active voice subscriptions while teledensity stood at 102.49 percent with Internet subscriptions increasing by 0.60 percent compared to September 2023,” the statement read.
“November of the same year, the industry also experienced a 0.46 percent growth in active voice subscriptions. In the period, teledensity remained stagnant at 102.97 percent with a 0.57 percent increase in Internet subscriptions when compared to October 2023.”