By Okoro Chinedu
Lagos — NIGERIA has recorded an 11 percent increase in internet subscriptions over the past year to 113, 9 million users.
The figure indicates a density of 61 percent in a population estimated at 185 million, placing Nigeria well above the African average of around 16 percent, according to McKinsey, the management consulting firm.
Statistics released by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) indicates there were 2,24 million new internet subscriptions recorded, compared with 3,18 million the previous month.
MTN accounted for the biggest share (40 percent) of total subscriptions.
Since June last year, MTN has recorded month-on-month (m/m) increases in its internet subscriptions. For January, it recorded an increase of 4,6 percent or 2 million new subscriptions.
Airtel also recorded m/m increases in subscription while 9mobile and Globacom suffered declines of 0,4 percent and 1,6 percent respectively.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), an upward trend in internet subscriptions via mobile network operators creates an opportunity to boost financial inclusion through mobile money services.
About 39 million adults are financially excluded in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and biggest economy.
First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) stated that the mobile sector still required significant investment in telecommunications infrastructure to drive broadband and internet penetration as well as affordability for data packages.
“However, to deepen financial inclusion through mobile money payment services, there also needs to be increased collaboration between telecommunication operators and banks,” FBN stated.