By Emmanuel Elebeke
A FOUR-country study, backed by Mozilla and carried out by Research ICT Africa on the financial reality of Internet use in Nigeria shows that higher income users pay between US$3.17-9.52 per month, whereas low income users pay as low as US7 cents per month. Nevertheless, these urban group users considered the pricing of Internet bundles cheap and largely affordable.
The report says Nigerian internet users like to use ‘big smartphones’ and will rather not go online until they can afford one. “They want high speed Internet at affordable prices.”
The four-country study also provides a much-needed refresh of what African Internet users are doing; what influences their access behaviour; and how greater access might be provided. The study looked at the results from Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Africa. The country studies used focus groups to explore user and non-user behaviour in detail.
In each country, the groups were held in urban, semi-urban and rural places except in Nigeria where they were held in the cities of Lagos, Kano and Enugu. One key area for the study was the use of subsidized data services like Facebook’s Free Basics.
In Nigeria, the use of subsidized data services was introduced in April 2016. The study, however, found that there were low levels of awareness of the service: “In many cases they showed strong skepticism as to the practicality of this product and expressed fears that the mobile operator will eventually deduct whatever data is used on the zero rated platforms from their phone,” the report said.
According to the report, “the Rwanda focus group members were far less skeptical but the country researcher notes that:” the use of subsidized data services, constitute a great part of data use as it allows MNOs to keep big numbers of subscribers that effectively use Internet even though the content is very limited to two or three services.”