Towards the broadband penetration target

The latest data released by the NCC, the industry regulator, show that internet subscriptions stood at 103.2 million in May, representing y/y growth of 13%. The figure implies density of 56% in a population estimated at 185 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16% as indicated by McKinsey.


  • 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) posted its twelfth successive monthly decline in internet subscriptions. It recorded 39,000 losses in May, compared with 150,000 the previous month.
  • Following its debt issues, the NCC began the bidding process for the acquisition of 9mobile. Teleology Holdings Limited emerged as the preferred bidder while Smile Telecoms Holding was the reserve. The preferred bidder is expected to pay the balance of US$450m by end-July to complete the acquisition; an initial payment of US$50m was made earlier in the year. The sale process has been far from smooth. A Federal High Court ruled in April to suspend the sale after lawmakers challenged the sale process.
  • MTN Nigeria (MTNN) accounted for the largest share (38%) of total subscriptions. The company plans to list on the NSE list year, though the exact timing and floatation details have not been disclosed. The listing will provide a boost to the market capitalisation of the exchange. MTNN’s revenue is similar to that of Dangote Cement – the largest company on the exchange.

Sources: Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); FBNQuest Capital Research


  • The FGN targets broadband penetration of 30% by end-2018 (from the current 22%). With six months remaining, it has approved an emergency intervention programme to deploy 18,000 kilometers of fiber cable across specific states. Nigeria currently has about 38,000 kilometers of fiber (32% of total requirement). The inability to secure right-of-way approvals from state governments is a core reason for the slow pace of cable deployment.
  • A deepened broadband penetration feeds directly into better internet access and the ripple effect of the latter on the economy attracts immeasurable benefits.

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