The number of internet users in Nigeria suffered a dip in the month of June and it may not be unconnected to poor services, steep costs, and unexplained quick exhaustion of data bundles.
The Nigerian Communications Communication (NCC) just released some data on the state of telcos in Nigeria and there were some interesting finds, and perhaps none more so than the fact some of the country’s biggest telcos are losing internet users.
According to the most recent data from the NCC, the leading service provider in the telecom industry, MTN Nigeria, lost about 178,103 internet subscribers last month. MTN’s total internet subscribers stood at 52.4 million in May 2019, but the number dropped to 52.2 million in June. This is actually the first time MTN Nigeria is losing internet subscribers in nearly a year.
Delving deeper, it would also be revealed that Nigeria’s total internet subscribers also dropped for the first time in one year. The total internet subscribers dropped to 122.2 million, from 122.6 million subscribers in May. The actual figures show that, in just one month, internet subscribers declined by over 332,000.
The last time Nigeria’s internet users numbers took a hit was in June 2018 when it slipped by over 347,000 in one month.
But MTN Nigeria is not the only telco that has seen its number of active internet subscribers do a nosedive. The NCC’s latest data also shows that the number of active internet subscribers on 9mobile has continued to drop as it had been doing for the last two years..
In the month of June 2019, 9mobile suffered a dip as its internet subscribers declined to 9.03 million; a drop from last month’s figure which stood at 9.35 million. Meanwhile, the company’s market share in the entire industry stands at 9 percent, equivalent to a subscriber base of 15.96 million.
Meanwhile, Globacom Nigeria recorded the highest number of subscribers in the month of June 2019 with an increase of 196,000 internet subscribers. On the other hand, Airtel Nigeria saw an increase of 42,000 in its total internet subscribers for the month of June.
In terms of overall market share, MTN Nigeria continues to boss things, leading the rest of the pack with its 65.25 million subscribers; gobbling up 38 percent of market share.
Home-grown telco, Globacom Nigeria, has become the second-largest telecommunications firm in Nigeria, having overtaken Airtel. Globacom now has claim to 27 percent with its 46.59 million subscribers.
Airtel, whose shares were recently floated on the local and international exchange markets, could only manage a slow rise in its market share which now stands at 26.43 percent; equivalent to 45.92 million subscribers.
Generally, the story over the years for the Nigerian telecommunication industry has been one of increase in the number of subscribers; something that is buoyed by the rise in broadband penetration. But in spite of the progress recorded, Nigerians have had to settle for poor internet connectivity and slow downloads even though internet bundles don’t exactly come on the cheap.
According to recent data from Internet World Stats, Nigeria now ranks 7th on the list of countries with the highest numbers of internet users with a total of 111.6 million subscribers. But a damper was put on that feat when some other report from UK-based price comparison website, Cable, revealed that the country’s internet download speed is actually one of the slowest in the world, though the telcos are now attempting to outdo one another.
As competition becomes even stiffer, the service providers are now introducing several strategies to attract customers. Even a cursory look at the matter would reveal that almost all internet service providers in Nigeria recently reviewed their data prices.
But even as data prices have dropped for some, complaints from Nigerians about poor internet connection and quick exhaustion of data bundles are still commonplace and are, in fact, getting louder. These could be blamed for the recent dip in the number of internet subscribers in Nigeria.
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