The latest data released by the NCC, the industry regulator, show that internet subscriptions stood at 94.8 million in November, representing y/y growth of 2.6%. The figure implies density of 51% in a population estimated at 185 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16% as estimated by McKinsey. In November there were 931,000 new internet subscriptions recorded, compared with 912,000 the previous month. MTN accounted for the largest share (35%) of total subscriptions.
We noticed subscription losses on 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) for the sixth consecutive month. There were slightly over 180,000 subscription losses on this network. We understand that there have been adjustments to some data packages within the network.
The liquidity issues experienced by 9mobile resulted in a transfer of ownership to its lenders. A bidding process for acquisition of the firm began last year, with 16 bidders indicating interest, but only five were shortlisted. Local media reports suggest that Teleology Holdings may emerge the new owner of 9mobile ahead of Smile Communications.
Internet subscription remains heavily dependent upon mobile network services. According to the regulator, internet subscription via mobile networks accounted for over 95% of total subscriptions in November.
According to the NCC, 120,000km of fibre network are required to boost broadband penetration, and only 32% has been covered. The financial implication of laying fibre network across the country is estimated at N17.4bn. That is, with a unit price rate of N145/meter.
For Nigeria to become an active member of the current digital transformation within the global village, huge investments in telecommunications infrastructure are required. Broadband penetration is currently 21%.