Visible increase in internet subscriptions

The latest data released by the NCC, the industry regulator, show that internet subscriptions stood at 98.4 million in December, representing y/y growth of 7.1%. The figure implies a density of 53% in a population estimated at 185 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16% as indicated by McKinsey. In December there were 3.6 million new internet subscriptions recorded, compared with 931,000 the previous month.

  • The m/m increase recorded in total internet subscriptions could be loosely linked to increased patronage of dual-SIM mobile phones; sometimes both SIMs are connected to separate data packages.
  • MTN accounted for the largest share (37%) of total subscriptions. Meanwhile, Globacom and Airtel accounted for 27% and 24% respectively. The latter recorded a m/m increase of 3.9%.
  • 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) suffered subscription losses for the seventh successive month. The operator recorded 68,000 subscription losses in December, compared with 180,000 in November. The reduced slippage may be due to the introduction of a new data package (“more blaze”), which was created to deliver a faster and more reliable internet usage experience for customers within its network.

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


  • To deepen broadband penetration and by extension boost internet subscriptions, the NCC plans to facilitate the re-farming of existing spectrums held by operators (without impacting their quality of service delivery). Additionally, the commission will auction the 2.5/2.6 gigahertz (GHz) spectrum for fourth generation (4G) long term evolution (LTE) capacity requirements later this year.
  • Broadband penetration is currently 21%; the FGN targets a penetration of 30% by end-2018.

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