April 24, 2024

Why Nigerians still groan under poor internet services

*Over 50% Nigerian internet subscribers on 2G

* 3G growing slowly at 9.17%

*4G overtakes 3G, peaks at 32.11%

*5G having slow penetration at 1.18%

By Juliet Umeh

This is when most countries of the world are saturated with the 5G network and moving over to the 6th generation, more than half of the number of Nigerians on the internet is on the 2nd generational network popularly known as 2G.

Statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC,  states that about 57.55 percent of the Nigerian internet subscriptions are on 2G; leaving the 3, 4 percent and 5th generations to share the rest 43 percent.

Generations of network

The first generation, 1G network refers to the very first generation of cellular networks. Cellular technology employs a network of cells throughout a geographical area using low-power radio transmitters.

2G is the second generation of wireless networks designed to improve on analog with digital circuit-switched solutions.

3G is the third generation of wireless mobile telecommunication technology. It is the upgrade over 2G, 2.5G, GPRS and 2.7G enhanced data rates for GSM evolution networks, offering faster data transfer, and better voice quality.

4G is the fourth Generation of mobile network technology, which is the successor of 3G and preceded the 5G network. It provides a much higher data transmission speed than its successor networks, making it preferable at this stage of a fast lifestyle.

5G is the fifth generation of wireless cellular technology, offering higher upload and download speeds, more consistent connections, and improved capacity than previous networks. 5G is much faster and more reliable than the currently popular 4G networks and has the potential to transform the way we use the internet to access applications, social networks, and information.

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However, NCC’s statistics 4G  follows with 32.11 while 3G and 5G are 9.17 and 1.18 respectively.

Porting activities 

In the same report, NCC also said that the porting activities, that is the monthly porting trend whereby a mobile number is transferred from one service provider to another on the request of a subscriber, there were a total number of 3,944 numbers which moved from one network to another. MTN  had the highest number of porting in with 2, 989 while Airtel had 682, then Globacom and 9mobile had 198 and 75 respectively.

In porting out, 9mobile had the highest number of people that left the network to other networks with 2, 947. It was followed by Globacom with 455, whereas Airtel and MTN were 402 and 140 respectively.

Subscribers per network 

Similarly, on the number of subscribers per network, MTN had the highest number of subscribers with 80, 895, and 695 which was 36.82 percent. MTN was followed by Airtel with 63,036,167 which were 28.69 percent and Globacom and 9mobile were 62,103,201 and 13,648,177 representing 28.27 percent and 6.21 percent respectively.

Speaking on what to do to get Nigerians out of 2G, Chief Executive Officer/ Board Advisor for  Phillips and Samuel  Ltd, an Advisory Services, Mr Ola Akanmu said the country needs four  things to address the challenge.

According to Akanmu who was the former President  and Co-CEO  of OPay-Nigeria, “First, we need to continue and accelerate investment in broadband  where about half of our population do not still have access.

“The second is that we need to have policies that support private markets to make smart phones that can use 3G and 5G more affordable   and the third is more affordable internet and broadband relative to local wages and income in Nigeria.

“Fourth, we should drive more competition in the broadband markets that innovatively increase access and affordability for more people. These are what India did with private sector players like Jio who brought smart phone and broadband access prices down to achieve extensive digital inclusion.”