- Mobile Internet Subscription Hits 93.5 Million
The number of mobile Internet subscription in the country rose by 35.71 million between 2013 and 2016, an analysis of data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission has shown.
According to the NCC, the mobile Internet subscription in the country stood at 93,554,076 as of September 2016 while as in October 2013, the total mobile subscription stood at 57,840,229.
This means that within the period of three years, mobile Internet subscription rose by 35,712,777. It also means that within the period of three years, mobile Internet subscription rose by 61.75 per cent.
Although at 32,771,259 subscribers, MTN Nigeria Communications Limited had the largest mobile subscription as of September 2016; Etisalat’s showed the biggest leap over the three year period as its mobile Internet subscription rose from 5,640,789 to 15,062,650, showing a difference of 9,421,861 or 167.03 per cent increase.
On the network of Airtel, the mobile Internet subscription rose from 9,650,631 in October 2013 to 18,832,238 as of September 2016. This shows a difference of 9,181,607 or 95.14 per cent growth rate.
Subscription on Globacom rose from 12,975,809 to 26,887,929 within the period. This means that the subscription grew by 13,912,120. This shows a growth rate of 107.22 per cent.
On the other hand, mobile Internet subscription on MTN rose from 29,477,200 to 32,771,259 within the period. This means that the mobile Internet subscription on the network rose by 3,294,059, showing a growth rate of 11.17 per cent.
Although over a period of three years, mobile Internet subscription in the country increased by 61.75 per cent, the subscription actually declined in the last one year.
Mobile Internet subscription in the country attained its peak in November 2015 when the subscription attained the height of 97,824,017.
As of October 2015, mobile Internet subscription stood at 97,518,398. This means that in the last 12 months, mobile Internet subscription in the country has declined by 3,964,322. This shows that the subscription declined by 4.06 per cent.
In the last three quarters of the year, the Nigerian economy has been in recession. The decline in the mobile Internet subscription could therefore mean that with lesser disposable income, more Nigerians who could not renew their data subscription opted out, leading to 4.06 per cent decline over the one year period within which the nation has witnessed recession.
The increase in mobile Internet subscription in the last three years has increased the revenue stream of digital operators. Even at an Average Revenue Per User of only N500 per month, 93,554,076 subscribers means additional N46.78bn a month in the coffers of mobile operators.
At the inception of digital mobile services in the country, operators had concentrated on only voice services. However, with advancement in technology, demand for higher productivity and mobile office, the rise in social networking and ubiquity of smartphones and other digital devices; there has been an increase in the demand for data services.
This has also reflected in the recent emphasis on mobile broadband services by both the industry regulator and mobile operators. In simple terms, broadband Internet means faster Internet services. Many subscribers are actually frustrated at the slow speed of connection offered by their service providers.
A number of operators have responded by making additional investments and launching 4G services. There is even fear that some that do not actually have 4G capability have only joined the bandwagon to advertise 4G services; just as they offer 2G services in the garb of 3G services.
An online professional, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he had been disappointed with the 3G offerings of two operators and therefore had not bordered about the new pitch of 4G technology.
“The 4G is limited to specific areas of the some cities. If you are not within those areas, you cannot enjoy 4G,” the subscriber said.
The Executive Vice-Chairman at the NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, recently put broadband penetration in the country at 21 per cent although the Alliance for Affordable Internet had also recently put the nation’s broadband Internet penetration at 14 per cent.
Danbatta said to reduce pressure on the existing lower microwave frequency bands and increase broadband access across the country, the NCC planned to license the 38 GHz and 42 GHz bands, adding that both bands were suitable for short hop and point-to-point terrestrial links.
The bands also support 3G/4G/LTE backhaul and a high degree of frequency reuse due to the high directivity of their antennas.
He said, “Currently in Nigeria, more than 10 terabytes of telecommunications capacity exist at the landing point, but the challenge is the deployment of fibre infrastructure across the country that will effectively distribute this capacity to the distribution nodes at the metropolitan areas of all regions in the country that will supply sufficient fibre capacity to the backbone.
“The commission is finalising subsidy agreements with two infrastructure companies, Infraco Nigeria Limited and I-Connect Infrastructure Services Limited for the Lagos and North Central Zones, respectively to facilitate the rollout of broadband services.”
5G Nationwide Deployment is 97 Percent Ready – NCC
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said that the commission is 97 percent ready for the deployment and implementation of 5G in the country.
NCC Executive Vice Chairman, Professor Umar Danbatta confirmed the commission’s readiness on Thursday, October 14, at the annual African Tech Alliance Forum (AFRITECH) 2021, held in Lagos with the theme: “Embracing Changes and Digital Transformation in the New Normal.”
Revealing that the NCC is working with operators to implement a number of initiatives to ensure network expansion, he also noted that this paradigm shift in communication has led to a significant increase in network connectivity requirements as a result of an unprecedented upsurge in internet traffic, occasioned by the use of a plethora of web applications.
Danbatta further announced that there is also a plan to auction spectrum in 3.5 gigahertz (Ghz) band to operators for the deployment of 5G network in Nigeria.
He said; “Already, we are set for the auction of some spectrum slots in 3.5GHz band. The other day I was at the National assembly, I informed the senate that we were 95 percent ready for 5G. Today as we speak, I am delighted to tell you that we are already at 97 percent completion.
“Consistent with our mandate as enshrined in the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 (NCA-2003) and other guiding legislations, we have been working to ensure the penetration of broadband services in line with Federal Government’s targets, as contained in Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020 to 2025.
“The Committee set up to auction the Spectrum has already developed an Information Memorandum (IM) which is already published for inputs and comments from all industry stakeholders. Prior to this, a 5G deployment plan was developed and we have since secured Federal Government’s approval.”
He stated that the trend has made remote work, virtual meetings, virtual studios, and virtual healthcare delivery, among others, the new normal.
The NCC boss was represented at the event by the Director, Spectrum Administration at the commission, Engineer Oluwatoyin Asaju and the commission’s Director of Public Affairs, Dr. Ikechukwu Adinde.
Flutterwave Eyes $3 Billion Valuation Ahead of Another Fundraising
Flutterwave, one of Nigeria’s tech unicorns, is presently in talks to raise an additional fund at a valuation of $3 billion or even more, according to a Bloomberg post.
The figure would triple Flutterwave’s last valuation of $1 billion.
Operating from both Lagos, Nigeria and San Francisco, US, Flutterwave held discussions with potential investors recently, the people familiar with the ongoing discussions stated. They explained that terms of funding are yet to be finalised and that it is likely to change.
The talks were led by the company Chief Executive Officer Olugbenga Agboola. In March, the company announced it has hits unicorn status after raising $170 million in a round led by Avenir Growth Capital and Tiger Global Management LLC. Other investors were DST Global, Greycroft, Insight Partners and Salesforce Ventures.
In the same March, the company announced a partnership with Paypal Inc. to enable its global customers to pay African merchants using Flutterwave’s platform.
Founded in 2016, Flutterwave facilitates cross-border transactions across Africa for companies including Facebook Inc., Uber Technologies Inc. and Booking.com. As of March, the startup said it had processed more than 140 million transactions worth over $9 billion in aggregate and that its revenue had risen at a compound annual growth rate of 225 percent between 2018 and 2020.
Nigeria’s Neobank Sparkle Raises $3.1 Million
One of Nigeria’s leading digital banks, Sparkle has raised $3.1 million in a seed round led by Leadway Assurance, Trium Network and other high net worth individuals to scale operations, according to the startup’s CEO, Uzoma Dozie.
The new fundraising was after the CEO raised $2 million in a pre-seed round from friends and family within the past year. Sparkle has now raised a combined $5 million.
Speaking on the startup, the CEO said Sparkle is different in the sense that it combines financial services with lifestyle to evolve with Nigeria’s need digital lifestyle.
He said “We’re quite different in a way because instead of separating financial services from lifestyle, we’ve tried to bring them together, especially as we’ve seen that more people are beginning to lead more digitally-led lives,” CEO Uzoma Dozie stated in an interview with Techcrunch.
“It means that we don’t see our customers from accounts, payments, deposits or credit perspectives, but from how can we help them do what they want to do at any particular time.”
Unlike other digital banks operating in Nigeria, Sparkle is serving both individuals and businesses on its platform. While digital banks like Kuda, VBank, Carbon, etc are offering tailored services to only individuals, Brass and Prospa are the other two serving businesses and individuals like Sparkle.
“As a small business, I’m not carrying my bank account on my mobile. I’m carrying my business. So we are bringing everything about your business into one place so that you can do business wherever you are,” Dozie said.
“For individuals, we’re bringing everything into one place so that you can do what you want to do quite easily wherever you are. But the bottom line is that we’re providing you with the information that you need to take spontaneous decisions.”
With its microfinance bank license, the digital bank has partnered with Visa to ensure customers can make in-person and online payments. Other partnerships are with companies like Network International and PwC Nigeria.
Since launching in 2020, Sparkle has opened accounts for over 40,000 individual users and 2,000 businesses. The digital bank is however charging individual customers small fees to keep their accounts operational and plan to charge businesses for most features except taxation services.
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