The latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the industry regulator, shows internet subscriptions stood at 108.5 million in November, representing y/y growth of 14%. The figure implies density of 58% in a population estimated at 185 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16% as indicated by McKinsey.
In November there were 1.35 million new internet subscriptions recorded, compared with 1.12 million the previous month. To achieve uninterrupted internet access, subscribers usually patronise dual-SIM mobile phones and stay connected via separate data packages on multiple networks.
Although MTN accounted for the largest share (38%) of total subscriptions, we noticed from the NCC data that in November the network operator experienced the highest outgoing porting activity, with a loss of over 2,300 subscribers. However, its incoming porting subscriptions stood at 2,173, thereby resulting in a net loss of -127 subscriptions.
Amongst the mobile network operators, MTN and Airtel recorded the highest m/m increases in internet subscription: 1.7% and 1.5% respectively.
Meanwhile, 9mobile (formerly Etisalat) recorded a total internet subscription of 10.1 million in November, unchanged from the previous month. Over a year ago, the NCC began the bidding process for the acquisition of 9mobile. Teleology Holdings Limited emerged as the preferred bidder. We understand that the sale process was completed in November.
As at November, the NCC met its 2018 broadband penetration target of 30%. In H1 2018, the commission had issued licenses to seven infrastructure companies to deploy about 18,000 kilometres of fibre cable across specific states to facilitate the required penetration.
The sector still requires significant investment in telecommunications infrastructure to drive broadband penetration and affordability, and Nigeria’s digital transformation.