Mobile Broadband Penetration Hits 83.37m as Impact of Ban on New Sim Wanes

technology - June 23, 2022

After a drop in mobile broadband penetrating to as low as 75.57 million subscriptions, equivalent to 39.59 per cent penetration in May 2021, following the ban on new sim registration by the federal government, Nigeria’s broadband penetration picked up again, one year after, to reach 83.37 million subscriptions, equivalent to 43.67 per cent penetration in May 2022.

The mobile broadband penetration data, which THISDAY obtained from the official website of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), showed a rebound in mobile broadband penetration, one year after it dropped in May 2021.

According to the data, as at May 2021, active mobile broadband subscription as reported by MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile, Smile and ntel, was 75,569,442, equivalent to 39.59 per cent penetration. The figure however increased in December 2021 to 78,041,883 subscriptions, equivalent to 40.88 per cent penetration.

The statistics on data usage also showed that the total volume of data consumed by subscribers increased from 205,880.4 terabytes (TB) in December, 2020 to 350,165.39 terabytes (TB) as at December 2021, indicating a percentage increase of 70.8 per cent mobile data usage year on year.

In January 2022, mobile broadband subscriptions also increased to 79,433,833, equivalent to 41.61 per cent mobile broadband penetration. The penetration however dropped in February 2022 to 40.91 per cent, with 78,082,273 subscriptions, but picked up again in March 2022 to reach 42.24 per cent penetration, with 80,678,301 subscriptions. In April 2022, it increased again to 42.79 per cent penetration, with 81,676,539 subscriptions, before rising again to reach 43.67 per cent mobile broadband penetration, with 83,365,233 subscriptions in May 2022, which is the latest of the statistics released by the NCC.

Analysts attributed the initial drop in mobile broadband penetration to the ban placed on all new SIM cards in 2020 by the federal government.

The Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami, had in December 2020, directed the NCC to order telecom operators to stop activation of new SIM cards and to deactivate any SIM card that was not duly registered and linked to subscribers’ National Identification Number (NIN).

According to analysts’ views, “Through effective regulatory regime emplaced by the NCC, the country has rebounded in its broadband growth, as broadband penetration as of May 2022 stood at 43.67 per cent, with 83,365,233 subscriptions. It is expected that greater penetration would be recorded, as the Commission, supported by necessary stakeholders, continues with diligent execution of the digital economy policies.”

The Commission, THISDAY gathered, had long exceeded the target of 30 per cent penetration as at December 2018 and has begun implementing new strategies to meet the new target of 70 per cent broadband penetration by year 2025 as contained in the new Nigeria’s National Broadband Plan (NNBP).


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