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Internet Subscriptions Hit 159 million in August ’23 – Coronation Economic Note



Broadband Penetration - Investors King

According to the latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), internet subscriptions stood at 159 million in August ’23, reflecting a 4.4% y/y increase.

Meanwhile, on a m/m basis, internet subscriptions declined marginally by -0.3%. Internet subscriptions remain resilient despite visible changes in consumption patterns. Indeed, the importance of social connectivity remains high, even in times of economic challenges.

Social media platforms, messaging apps, and online communities continue to be crucial for maintaining connections, sharing information, and staying informed, driving sustained internet usage.

Furthermore, Nigeria has witnessed a surge in entrepreneurship and digital innovation. Startups
and small businesses often rely on the internet for their operations, from marketing to sales.

This entrepreneurial ecosystem contributes to the consistent demand for internet services.

In a separate report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which broke down subscription levels by states, Lagos state recorded the highest number of active internet subscribers in Q3 ’23 with 19.2 million, then Ogun state with 9.5 million and Kano with 8.7 million.

Meanwhile, Bayelsa recorded the lowest with 1,2 million. The demand for and accessibility of internet services vary among states.

The differences in internet subscriptions between Lagos and Bayelsa can be attributed to population density, infrastructure development, business ecosystems as well as educational and entertainment centers.

Returning to the NCC data, MTN accounted for the largest share (38.6%) of internet subscriptions
in August ’23.

Meanwhile, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile accounted for 27.9%, 27.3%, and 6.3% respectively. It is worth noting that Airtel, 9mobile and Globacom recorded marginal m/m increases in total internet subscriptions at +0.1%, +0.3%, and +0.1% respectively. Meanwhile, MTN recorded a -0.4% decline during this period.

Based on MTNN ‘s 9-month financial results (Jan-Sep ’23), service revenue increased by 21.7% y/y. The y/y uptick can be attributed to increases in both data revenue (15.3% y/y). Despite the commendable revenue generation, we saw a notable contraction in profit due to rising operating expenses.

The latest national accounts released by the NBS show that telecommunications grew by 7.7% y/y and accounted for 13.5% of total GDP in Q3 ’23. If Nigeria’s ICT sector maintains double-digit growth over five consecutive years, it could lead to substantial economic expansion.

Our in-house estimate suggests a GDP growth rate in the range of 1-2 percentage points per year. This
projection considers the sector’s direct contribution to GDP, as well as its indirect impact on other sectors through increased productivity, innovation, and connectivity.

Broadband penetration increased to 45.6% in August ’23 vs 44.4% recorded in the corresponding period of 2022. The FGN had set a broadband penetration target of 70% by 2025. This goal was outlined in the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020-2025. The current gap can be closed by 2025.

However, roadblocks need to be addressed. Such as delays and difficulties in obtaining the right of way for laying fiber optic cables which are slowing down broadband deployment.

In 2020, the Nigerian Governors’ Forum resolved that telecom operators should pay a RoW fee of N145 per linear meter of fiber. Notably, only Nasarawa, along with Kaduna, Ekiti, Katsina, Plateau, and Ekiti,
opted for zero charges.

Meanwhile, the FCT had disclosed a charge of N14.50 per linear meter RoW charges (a 90% reduction from the regular fee) in 2022.

Effectively mitigating RoW challenges in Nigeria demands a nuanced, strategic approach. Streamlining regulatory frameworks and establishing transparent fee structures are imperative to diminish unnecessary delays and financial uncertainties for infrastructure developers. Additionally, introducing digital platforms for RoW processes aligns with global best practices, enhancing administrative efficiency and minimizing bureaucratic hurdles.

Engaging stakeholders through sustained dialogue and community sensitization becomes paramount, fostering a collaborative environment conducive to infrastructure development. Public-private partnerships should be strategically leveraged, with a focus on incentivizing private sector involvement in broadband deployment.

The creation of standardized RoW agreements and dedicated task forces can institutionalize efficient decision-making processes, ensuring consistency and fair negotiations.

Regarding opportunities within ICT, digital transformation services feature on the list. Businesses are increasingly seeking innovative solutions such as cloud computing, cybersecurity, and data analytics to enhance efficiency and competitiveness.

Furthermore, telecommunications infrastructure development continues to offer avenues for expansion and upgrades, including the deployment of advanced technologies such as 5G. This addresses the escalating demand for data and connectivity in a rapidly digitizing society. Cybersecurity Services also remain important, the increasing reliance on digital platforms necessitates robust solutions to safeguard businesses from evolving cyber threats.

The FGN has shown a commitment to expanding digital infrastructure. Initiatives aimed at improving broadband penetration and increasing internet accessibility, especially in rural areas, contribute to the overall growth and resilience of internet subscriptions and by extension, the broader economy.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq,, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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MTN Nigeria to Convene Extraordinary General Meeting to Address Capital Loss



Karl O Toriola -

MTN Nigeria, one of the country’s leading telecommunications giants, has announced plans to hold an Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) with its shareholders to deliberate on strategies for managing the significant capital loss it incurred in 2023.

The decision was disclosed in a corporate notice filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Tuesday and the EGM is scheduled to take place later this month in Lagos.

The primary agenda of the meeting will be to discuss and explore possible measures to mitigate the loss of capital suffered by the company during the financial year ended December 2023.

The telecom giant posted a net loss after tax of N137 billion, largely driven by a N740 billion foreign exchange loss.

Consequently, MTN Nigeria’s retained earnings and shareholders’ fund plummeted to negative N208 billion and N40.8 billion, respectively.

In a statement, Karl Toriola, the Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, acknowledged the daunting operating environment characterized by inflationary pressures, currency devaluation, and foreign exchange shortages.

Toriola explained that the adverse impact of these factors on the company’s financial performance necessitates a comprehensive reassessment of strategies to navigate the complexities ahead.

Toriola further expressed the company’s commitment to sustaining commercial momentum and accelerating service revenue growth, despite the challenging economic landscape.

The decision not to declare a final dividend for 2023 reflects MTN Nigeria’s prudent approach to prioritizing financial stability and long-term resilience amid ongoing uncertainties.

The upcoming EGM signifies a pivotal moment for the company and its shareholders to collaboratively chart a course towards recovery and sustainable growth.

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NCC Files Copyright Infringement Charges Against MTN Nigeria and Others



Karl O Toriola -

The Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) has taken legal action against MTN Nigeria Communications Ltd. and four individuals, including its Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, over alleged copyright infringement.

The charges, filed in the Federal High Court, Abuja Division, revolve around the unauthorized use of musical works belonging to artist Maleke Idowu Moye.

According to the NCC, the defendants are accused of offering for sale, selling, and trading musical works of Maleke without his consent between 2010 and 2017. These works were allegedly used as Caller Ring Back Tunes without proper authorization.

The musical pieces in question include popular tracks such as “911,” “Minimini-wanawana,” and “Stop racism,” among others.

The commission further alleges that the defendants distributed these musical works to subscribers without authorization, infringing upon the rights of the artist.

The charges are based on provisions of the Copyright Act, Cap. C28, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

As the case awaits assignment to a judge and a fixed date for mention, it marks a significant development in the ongoing efforts to uphold copyright protection in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector.

This legal action underscores the NCC’s commitment to safeguarding the intellectual property rights of artists and creators within the country.

MTN Nigeria, a major player in the telecommunications industry, now faces a legal battle that could have broader implications for how intellectual property rights are respected and enforced within Nigeria’s digital landscape.

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MTN’s MoMo Sees 32.2% Surge in Transaction Volumes



MTN Nigeria - Investors King

MTN Group’s mobile money platform, MoMo, has experienced a 32.2% surge in transaction volumes.

With 72.5 million active users, MoMo continues to solidify its position as a leading fintech service provider in Africa, tapping into the continent’s burgeoning mobile banking sector.

The company’s success underscores the growing trend of Africa’s young and tech-savvy population embracing mobile technology to address financial needs.

Mobile phones are increasingly becoming a tool for bridging gaps in services, particularly in banking, presenting a lucrative opportunity for wireless carriers like MTN to capitalize on the burgeoning fintech market.

MTN’s achievement comes as it finalizes a deal with Mastercard Inc., valuing its fintech business at an impressive $5.2 billion.

This strategic partnership further enhances MTN’s position in the digital finance space, positioning it for continued growth and innovation.

However, MTN is not alone in its fintech endeavors. Rivals such as Airtel Africa Plc, Safaricom Plc, and Vodacom Group Ltd. are also making strides in digital transformation, with plans to separate and monetize their fintech businesses in the long term.

Airtel Africa, for instance, is reportedly considering an IPO for its mobile money unit, indicating the high stakes and intense competition within the sector.

Despite the remarkable success in its fintech ventures, MTN faced challenges in its core telecommunications business, with service revenue growth slowing to 6.8%.

Inflation and currency devaluation in key markets, particularly Nigeria, impacted profitability, highlighting the complexities of operating in diverse African markets.

As MTN continues to expand its fintech footprint and invest in infrastructure to enhance connectivity across the continent, it remains poised to capitalize on the immense potential of Africa’s digital economy.

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