Data from the National Bureau of Statistics reveals that internet subscription on GSM phones in Nigeria has risen by 31.3% in the last one year. According to the data, Nigeria has a total of 97,060,548 in internet subscription with one of the four carriers of Airtel, Etisalat, Globacom and MTN as at September of 2015. With a total of about 148,427,423 GSM subscribers, it means 65% of active GSM lines also use data.
The data also shows that Etisalat has been the fasted growing network when it comes to internet subscription for GSM users. Internet subscription for Etisalat has risen 167% from about 5.8 million users to about 15.5 million users in September 2015. Total internet subscription for all GSM carriers combined has risen from 73.8 million to 97 million subscribers.
MTN witnessed the slowest growth over the period, with an increase in internet subscriptions equivalent to growth of 0.66% per month. In line with the stable proportion of overall subscriptions accounted for, Airtel and Globacom grew at a similar rate to the total number, at rates equivalent to 2.24% and 2.73% per month on average respectively.
MTN’s share of the market fell from 52.30%, to 43.10% in September 2015 according to the report. By contrast, Etisalat increased its share of the market from 7.85% to 16.07% over the same period, accounting for most of the difference in MTN’s market share. Most of this increase happened within January, when the internet subscriptions with Etisalat increased by 62.69%, and June, when they increased by 47.96%.
The report offered to explanation as to why internet subscription for Etisalat grew from about 6 million users in December 2014 to over 10 million in January 2015 and from 10.3 million in May2015 to 15.2 million by June 2015.