Data consumption surges as subscribers seek service improvement


Despite a decline in the voice segment of Nigeria’s $64 billion telecommunications sector in the first quarter, there has been an upsurge in data consumption.

According to a Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) report obtained by The Guardian, the industry witnessed a continuous increase in Internet usage measured in terabyte (TB) in the first quarter of the year.

February recorded the consumption of 22,019.66TB, March had 30,627.40TB and April saw 31,160.00TB data consumption, which was a reflection of 41.5 per cent usage increase between February and April 2017.

Nigeria currently has 90 million Internet users, majorly on the narrow band. There are however, efforts by the NCC to deepen the penetration. This is even as the country has set a 30 per cent Broadband penetration and 80 per cent ubiquitous Internet reach by 2018.

Already, the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta, had disclosed that by July the remaining five Infrastructure Companies (InFraCos) for North east; North west; South east; South west and South south regions would have emerged out of the 60 companies that have bided.

The five new InFraCos would join the likes of MainOne Cables and IHS Consortium, which already got the license for Lagos and North Central zones.

Meanwhile, subscribers, who spoke with The Guardian are calling for 100 per cent improvement in data services offerings, especially among the Tier I operators.

The report also identified several factors hindering subscriptions to telecommunications services in Nigeria.

Apart from the daily menace of poor quality of service, which characterised major network offerings, seasonal trends, such as travelers dropping SIMs at the end of vacation, among others have also been identified.

The telecoms sector services, especially the voice and data offerings, have in the last five months suffered sharp decline in subscriptions.

Indeed, the report showed a downward movement in Active Voice Subscription (AVS) and Active Mobile Internet (AMI). It covered the performance of telecoms industry and provided probable reasons for the decline in subscriptions.

According to it, from January to April 2017, the sector lost 3.7 per cent of its voice subscribers. From 155.1 million at the beginning of the year, it went down to 149.3 million, meaning that about 5.86 million subscriptions were lost in the period.

Similarly, the AMI suffered the same fate, falling from 91.5 million to 90 million, showing a loss of 1.15 million (1.26 per cent) in quarter one.

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NCCUmar Danbatta
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