Broadband Penetration in Need of a Leg-up; Internet Subscriptions Stood At 128.4m in January 2020

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Thursday, March 26, 2020 / 9:36 AM / By FBNQuest Research / Header Image Credit: Alternative Africa

                                                                                

The latest data released by the NCC, the industry regulator, show that internet subscriptions stood at 128.4 million in January, representing y/y growth of 13%. The figure implies density of 65% in a population estimated at 198 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16% as indicated by McKinsey. In January there were c.2.6 million new internet subscriptions.  In addition to subscriptions on multiple SIM cards for the purpose of separate data packages, SIM purchases for smart devices (such as tablets) which require mobile data to be fully functional may have contributed to the rise in internet subscriptions.

                                                                                                            

MTN Nigeria (MTNN) accounted for the largest share (43%) of total subscriptions. In January, MTNN recorded a 2.6% m/m increase in data subscriptions. There has been a steady increase in MTNN data subscriptions since August 2019.

 

Based on MTNN's Q4 2019 results, on a full year basis, data revenue grew by 43% y/y in 2019. As at Q4 2019, MTNN had increased its 4G population coverage to c.43.8% from 35.0% in Q3 2019.

 

Amongst the mobile network operators, Airtel recorded the highest m/m increase (2.8%) in internet subscription while 9mobile recorded a decline of -0.3% m/m.

 

There have been network issues across mobile network operators as well as other internet service providers due to damaged undersea cables (WACS and SAT3/WASC cable systems) on the continent's western coast. We understand that repairs are underway. However, rough conditions at sea and inclement weather are slowing down the process.

 

Internet subscriptions (% chg; m/m)

 

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Sources: Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC); FBNQuest Capital Research

 

Broadband penetration currently stands at 38%. To improve internet speed, deeper broadband penetration is required. Based on the new national broadband plan 2020 -2025, the FGN expects broadband penetration to hit 70% by 2025. This is an ambitious target, though achievable with sizeable investments into the sector.


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