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February 15, 2024

ISPs get traction but data consumption drops to 645,407terabytes

By Upfrontdigital News 0 384 Views

By Favour Unukaso

MARKET penetration of Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Nigeria appeared to have witnessed a rebound in the last few months ending November 2023.

Checks showed that as of June 2023, 126 ISPs whose data were submitted to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had a total of 193,199 active customers, but by November, the figure rose to 213,876. Operators saw 20,677 more users.

These operators, which had 2,364 Point of Presence across the country, had 177,903 Wireless Internet Subscribers and 35,973 Wired Internet users.

While Wireless Internet is a system of connecting to the Internet that does not need wires or cables, such as WiFi, wired network uses cables to connect devices, such as laptop or desktop computers, to the Internet or another network.

Before now, though the challenge is still there, the ISPs have had a deep running battle for survival, largely from the mobile network operators (MNOs), which commanded huge Internet users in the country. As of the period under review, NCC said the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile boast of 161, 476, 682 Internet users.

NCC EVC, Maida

While the mobile operators could also be regarded as ISPs because they provide Internet service alongside voice and other services permitted by their Universal Access Service Licence (UASL), the core ISPs are licensed to provide only Internet service and are mostly indigenous companies.

Broadband penetration also leaped in the month under review with 41.8 per cent penetration and 90.7 million users.

According to the NCC statistics, leading ISPs include Spectranet with 646 PoPs and 113,747 customers; Tizeti has 139 PoPs and services 19,126 users. With 53 PoPs, IPnx has 14,871 customers; Elon Musk’s Starlink with one PoPs, currently services 11,207 users and VDT with 58 PoPs, ensures that 6,611 users are serviced.

In one of his interviews with the media, the Chief Executive Officer of VDT Communications Limited, Abiodun Omoniyi emphasised the role of the ISPs in the country’s quest for ubiquitous broadband, had recently appealed to the government to come to the aid of the business.

According to him, the ISPs who could be classified as Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the telecoms market are dying by the day.

“Indigenous ISPs are disappearing, more than 200 have been licensed so far by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), but only a few of them are still operating. They are largely SMEs and need support to survive,” he said.

Omoniyi, VDT boss

Omoniyi added that the implementation of the National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 requires the input of every stakeholder to succeed, hence the ISPs, which play significant roles in taking the services to the last mile must be supported.

According to Omoniyi, the telecoms industry regulator would need to understand the mitigating factors to address the problems of the ISPs.

“What is obstructing the growth of these ISPs? Is it funding? The operating environment? Is it regulation itself? If it is regulation, that is within the ambit of the regulator.

“The regulation probably favours the bigger ones. What I mean is that the regulation should be targeted at promoting the ISPs, the smaller ones. Can we have the smaller ISPs have at least five per cent of the market share to heighten competition, for instance?”


RELATEDLY, data consumption dropped last November. Checks showed that as of August, Nigerians consumed 655,879 terabytes of data, dropped to 653,257 terabytes in September. Consumption rose to 675,250 terabytes in October and dropped significantly to 645,407 terabytes a month after.

Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, Karl Toriola, noted that the increase in smartphone penetration in Nigeria is driving data consumption and data revenue growth. Toriola said the revenue trend has been going in a direction where data will become MTN’s main revenue source.

Some ISPs

“The contribution of voice to total revenue has been coming down while the contribution of data has been going up. So, we will see their convergence. We expect that data will overtake voice at some point in the near future. As of April 2017, voice contribution was 70 per cent, but today, it has gone down. Between the next 18 to 36 months, data will overtake voice in terms of revenue contribution and this will be driven by factors such as the increase in smartphone penetration and the uptake of 5G,” he said.

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