Lagos, Kano, Oyo, FCT, and Ogun state recorded a total increase of 8.96 million new internet subscribers between 2019 and 2020. This is according to the Q4 2020 telecoms report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
The report also showed that the number of internet subscribers increased from 126.1 million as of Q4 2019 to 154.3 million in Q4 2020, representing a 22.38% increase.
These numbers support the realities of 2020 when corporations were forced to adopt remote working due to the COVID-19 induced lockdown and companies striving to be COVID-19 compliant even after the lockdown.
It is worthy of note that during the year, the largest increase (10.12 million subscribers) in the number of internet subscribers was recorded between Q4 2019 and Q1 2020. Information gathered from NCC showed that the highest increase of 3.18% was seen between February 2020 and March 2020 which can be easily traced to the effect of the lockdown.
States with the largest increase in internet subscription
Although all states of the federation recorded an increase in internet subscribers during the year, some states, however, outperformed others. Below are the states that recorded the highest increase in the number of internet subscribers between Q4 2019 and Q4 2020.
First – Lagos: 2.28 million
Second – Kano: 2.18 million
Third – Oyo: 1.66 million
Fourth – FCT: 1.57 million
Fifth – Ogun: 9.01 million
A key feature of these states is the fact that they are the biggest commercial cities in Nigeria and are believed to receive the highest migrants in the country. These states, specifically Lagos, Oyo, and Ogun are also among the least poor states in Nigeria according to the National Bureau of Statistics 2019 poverty and inequality report.
All these are contributing factors to the huge increase seen in internet subscriptions in the states. These states also boast of having the largest internet subscriber base in the country as of Q4 2020.
A quarter-on-quarter comparison of Q3 2020 and Q4 2020 however showed that number of internet subscribers in the two largest cities dropped. The number of internet subscribers in Lagos State dropped from 19 million as of Q3 2020 to 18.9 million at the end of Q4 2020 while Kano State recorded a drop from 10.3 million to 9.6 million in the review period.
States with the lowest increase in internet subscription
Despite the large increase in internet subscriptions seen in some states, some however only recorded a marginal increase in the number of internet subscriptions in 2020.
First – Bayelsa: 182,053
Second – Ebonyi: 207,803
Third – Ekiti: 220,628
Fourth – Abia: 316,519
Fifth – Cross River: 318,616
A cursory look at these states shows that some of them are considered poor states and economic activities besides agriculture is low in the regions.
The NBS 2019 Poverty and Inequality publication reported Bayelsa with a poverty headcount rate of 22.61%, Ebonyi with 79.76%, Ekiti with 28.04%, Abia with 30.67%, and Cross River with 36.29%.
Apart from the low increase in internet subscriptions in these states, these states are among the states with the lowest number of subscribers in the country.
What this means
The report shows that the states that recorded the highest increase in internet subscribers in 2020 are popularly known for their commercial value, which can be traced to the increased usage of the internet in their businesses due to the lockdown.
- The less-commercial states in the country recorded the least increase in numbers which could be due to the high poverty rate, low education, and low income in the regions. Also, due to the nature of businesses popular in the states, there was not excess need for internet usage.
- Meanwhile, the recent decline in the number of subscribers in the country is attributable to the policy on NIN-SIM card registration by the federal government.