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Five states record least Internet users in Nigeria


Issouf Sanogo (AFP/File)

Issouf Sanogo (AFP/File)

With the country home to 92 million Internet subscribers and 109 per cent teledensity mark, five states currently rank lowest in terms of activities done via the web in Nigeria.

User ranking is used to determine the level of Internet penetration and awareness in particular regions. The higher the ranking, the higher the awareness among users and vice-versa. The rate penetration is often dependent on the availability and quality of network services by providers as well as the literacy level of users.

Telecommunications sector’s third quarter 2016 data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that Bayelsa, Yobe, Ebonyi, Ekiti and Zamfara have the least number of Internet users in the country—689, 801; 752,156; 772,777; 857,690 and 861,976 respectively.


Expectedly, Lagos ranked highest, with 12, 957, 617 Internet users. Ogun is second with 5, 639, 465; Oyo has 4, 951, 984 users; Kano has 4, 457, 262 users and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja is in the fifth position with 4, 359, 372 Internet users.

The statistics revealed that as at the period under review, there were 93, 776, 711 Internet users, but current statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), as at November 2016, showed  a downward  review with the number falling to 92.4 million.

It showed that of the 92,446,687 million Internet users in November, 92,416,378 were on GSM networks, while 30,309 users were on CDMA networks. Also, the GSM service providers lost 759,683 Internet customers after recording 92,416,378 users in November, as against 93,176,061 it recorded in October.

The data revealed that MTN had 32,017,779 subscribers browsing the Internet on its network in the month under review.

According to the data, Globacom had 27,122,892 customers surfing the net on its network in November, revealing a decrease of 62,660 users, from the 27,185,552 that surfed the Internet on the network in October. Airtel had 19,143,700 Internet users in November, adding 311,462 customers to its October record of 18,832,238.

The data also showed that Etisalat had 14,132,007 customers who browsed the Internet in November, revealing a decrease of 561,485 users against the 14,693,492 users recorded in October.

The NCC data revealed that the CDMA operators, Multi-Links and Visafone, had a joint total of 30,309 Internet users on their networks in November, maintaining the same record of October.

Meanwhile, expectations are high that NCC will back its word with action by licensing the remaining five infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) in 2017.

The commission had already licensed Lagos and North Central InfraCos with MainOne Cables and IHS, a tower company respectively.  The two and other planned five InfraCos are expected to bolster the Federal Government plan of achieving 30 per cent broadband penetration by 2018.

Already, the NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, broadband penetration is currently about 20 per cent.

According to NCC’s ‘Open Access Model for Next Generation Optic Fiber Broadband Network’ approved InfraCos should geographically offer extensive Layer 2 transmission services on an open entry, non-discriminatory, price controlled base.

The InfraCos can also offer Layer 1 (dark fiber) services for a moneymaking purpose, which is intended for providing transmission services and the deployment of municipal fiber, present at entry points to (Fiber to the Node or Neighborhood – FTTN) access explorers.

Meanwhile, the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) has opined that the change in the Internet ecosystem and its rise in popularity are accompanied by a large growth in Internet traffic.


ITU noted that Cisco, which tracks global IP traffic and related measures, predicts that by the end of 2016 yearly global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte (ZB), and reach 2.3 ZB per year by 2020.

According to the United Nation’s body, with faster speeds, cheaper mobile subscription plans and devices and more data allowance, video streaming on mobile phones is expected to rise in the coming years.

This trend is also facilitated by new apps and developments made by the major video-streaming companies. Smartphone traffic is expected to exceed computer traffic by 2020, while traffic from wireless and mobile devices will then account for two-thirds of all IP traffic.

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