According to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigerians as well as foreigners in Nigeria consumed 353,118.89 petabytes data in 2021.
The data was consumed between January and December 2021 and represent “an increase of 68.2% in data consumption when compared with the year ended December 2020.”
The figure comes from the regulatory body’s new report information on subscribers/network data for 2021
This is despite a 8% decline in internet subscriptions for the year.
In the 12-month period leading to the report, January – December 2020, consumption in the country stood at 209,917.40 terabytes of data.
All GSM Operators were directed by NCC in December 2020 not to sell or register new SIMs, SIM Swaps, or to perform any porting activities. subscriptions for internet decreased from 154.3 Million as of December 2020, to 141.9 Million as of December 2021.
However, the increase in data consumption by subscribers was not enough to cover the revenue of network operators. MTN and Airtel both reported a significant increase in data-related earnings in their financial results for 2021.
MTN, for instance, recorded 55% increase in data revenue for the year as it raked in ₦516 billion from its internet customers. Airtel Nigeria also raked in ₦304 billion as data revenue for the year, representing a 41.1% increase.
Both operators agreed that 4G expansion in the country was the key to the rise in data usage among their customers.
Here are more highlights from the 2021 Annual Report on Subscriber/Network Data
- NCC reports that subscribers fell from 204,601,313 in 2020 to 195.463,898 active Voice Subscriptions as of December 20,21. This represents a drop of 9,137.415 subscriptions. This corresponds to a decline of approximately 4.46% in total subscribers during the period under review.
- The decrease in Operators’ subscriber base was attributed majorly to the effect of the directive from NCC in December 2020 to all GSM Operators to suspend the sale and registration of new SIMs, SIM swaps and all porting activities. The audit was designed to verify and assure compliance of Mobile Network Operators with the established quality standards and requirements for SIM Card Registration, as issued by NCC and the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
- Broadband penetration fell from 45.02% as December 2020 to 40.88% December 2021. Broadband Subscriptions declined similarly, from 85.941,222 subscribers in December 2020 to 78.141,883 subscriptions by December 2021.
- According to NCC in 2021, $417.48 million was foreign direct investment in telecoms.
- Nigeria’s teledensity declined from 107.18% in December 2020 to 102.40% December 31st 2021.
Reactions by stakeholders
Adeolu Olu Ogunbanjo (President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers) commented on the increase in telecoms usage. told The Punch, “The year 2020 was the real COVID-19 period and people were trying to graduate online.
“In 2021, there was a full blast in online activity. Online work saw an increase in commercial and economic transactions. This was all due to the telecoms infrastructure. This was the right thing to do. As people used their computers online, 2021 saw an increase in online activities.
“Data usage and calls increased. Growth could slow down in 2022, as 70 million subscribers are not able to make calls. Perhaps data, yes. But the implementation of the SIM-NIN policy will have its effect.”
The Chief Operating Officer of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ajibola Olude, mentioned that “there are many factors that are responsible for the increase in the usage of telecom services, one of them is that productivity is now driven by telecom services.
“If you go to any sector today, their growth, their productivity is driven by telecom services. This includes banking, insurance, and hospitality. Telecoms has shown its ability to reach all segments of the economy. This growth is expected in 2022 due to the anticipated increase in the adoption of telecom services.”
Why do Nigerians consume more data than they used to?
For some demographic groups – such as teenagers and young adults, secondary school students, undergraduates, post-graduates and those from high-income households – data usage is near ubiquitous.
Nigerians have high-speed broadband internet service at home. increased rapidly in 2020 because more people saw the internet as the saviour of the human race – and the internet hardly disappointed. Because the internet offers more income sources, this growth is more limited among younger Nigerians. A decreasing purchasing power will be the only obstacle.
However, there are many other factors that can contribute to high usage. Most of this is due to the frequent use. More Nigerians own devices – smartphones, computers, tablets, security camera that are constantly running, so, usage will be high.
Other factors include automatic app sync and update to the cloud, consumption video content, music streaming or downloading movies.