Business Hilights
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FG, networks silent on dropping number of internet users in Nigeria

For more than one month after a chilling statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) said Internet users on Nigeria’s telecommunications networks declined to 92,446,687 in November 2016 and further slipped in October 2016, government has not reacted to the development.

Analysts say if the trend continue unchecked, it may further discourage networks from expanding and upgrading their data services, thus creating chances of total collapse at a time the country is working towards 30 per cent broadband penetration by next year.

Besides, other dangers apart from hobbling broadband penetration include disruptions in the campaign for financial inclusion, educational system and expected growth in ehealth systems.

However, investigations by Business Hilights showed that the major cause of drop in internet uptake include financial squeeze currently being suffered by many Nigerians due to the recession.

Experts said the cause of the drop has nothing to do with the earlier announced but quashed hike in the price of data, saying this is time for government and the regulator to drive another campaign to deepen internet usage.

Some observers had argued that the observed drop formed part of the reasons the former Minister of Communications technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson planned a N5bn internt uptake campaign before it was shut down by stakeholders who felt shortchanged in the entire planning of the campaign including journalists.

In October, NCC reported that Internet users on both Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks decreased by 391,679 in respect to September figures.

The recent figures released by NCC indicates that Internet users on both Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) and Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) networks reduced by 759,683.

Out of the 92.4 million Internet users in November, only 30,309 users were on CDMA networks, the same number recorded in October. The rest were hooked to the GSM networks.

The data revealed that MTN had 32,017,779 subscribers, a decrease of 447,000, compared with the 32,464,779 subscribers in October.

Globacom has 27,122,892 customers on its network in November, revealing a decrease of 62,660 users, from the 27,185,552 in October.

Unlike Glo and MTN, Airtel gained 311,462 customers to balloon to 19,143,700 Internet users in November. The telecom firm’s October record was 18,832,238.

Etisalat lost far more customers than other networks, recording 14,132,007 customers who browsed the Internet in November. The figure was 561,485 lower compared to the 14,693,492 users it had in October.

The NCC data revealed that of the CDMA operators, Visafone is king, commanding 30,305 users, the same as in October.

Multi-Links has just four Internet users; the same figures recorded for the firm in October.