Nigeria loses 791,474 active Internet users | Here is Why
An estimated 791,474 mobile Internet users on telecom networks in Nigeria went inactive in December, according to a report from the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Commission in the report said that Internet user database on the networks of global system for mobile communications (GSM) operators crashed from 97,824,017 in November to 97,032,543 Internet users in December.
However, analyst of the data revealed that MTN was the loser of the Internet subscribers, though the telecoms network has the largest subscriber-base of 40.8 million as at last November, but this fell to 39 million in December.
Other telecoms networks such as Etisalat, Globacom and Airtel increased their Internet subscriber-base from 15,161,307 to 15,189,788; 24,952,559 to 5,082,066 and 16,837,282 to 16,835,952 between November and December respectively.
Meanwhile, the loss of 791,474 Internet subscribers on MTN network has been traced to the NCC’s directive asking the telecoms company to deactivate over five million improperly unregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) lines on its network in the second quarter of 2015.
Internet subscribers on the mobile networks has consistently increased from January 2015 through November, but recorded its decline in December.
According to the NCC data, mobile Internet subscriber stood at 81.8 million in January and this increased to 83.2 million, 85.3 million and 86.9 million in February, March and April respectively.
From May through to September, the figure continued its upward trend to reach 88.1 million; 92.6 million; 93.4 million; 95.2 million and 97 million in that order.
Also, in October, November and December, the data stood at 97.5 million; 97.8 million but fell to 97 million on account of most hitherto active Internet users on MTN network affected by the SIM deactivation crisis.
Meanwhile, on technology- by-technology basis, the latest NCC data shows that GSM operators, which had 149.8 million active lines in November, only had 148.6 million at the end of December, a development, which industry analysts also traced to MTN’s SIM deactivation saga.
According to the data, for the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks, there was an increase in subscriber base from 2,149,120 to 2,148,727 lines, while fixed networks recorded a marginal rise from 186,772 to 187,155 lines, according to the NCC data.
Similarly, with the decline in active subscriber base from 152.2 million to 151 million between November and December, teledensity also declined from 108.66 per cent to 107.87 per cent during the same period.
According to the annualised teledensity figure provided by the Commission, teledensity increased from 0.73 per cent in 2001 to 1.89 per cent in 2002 and in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006; it increased to 3.35 per cent; 8.5 per cent; 16.27 per cent and 24.18 per cent respectively. In 2007, teledensity rose to 29.93 per cent and in 2008, it hit a record 45.93 per cent.
Also, with the growth in active subscriber base leapt to 74.52 million by the end of 2009. Teledensity also reached 53.23 per cent, while the figure rose to 63.11 per cent in December 2010.
In December 2011, teledensity was 68.49 per cent; 80.85 in 2012 and by the end of December, 2013, the figure rose to 91.15 per cent.
At the end of 2014 and 2015, teledensity stood at 99.39 per cent and 107 per cent respectively, according to the NCC report.