Nigerians Seek Slash in Data Prices, as Broadband Penetration Struggles to Hits 21%

As Nigeria struggles to deepen broadband penetration which stands at 21 percent, about 89 percent of Nigerians in a recent survey claimed that there was the need to reduce the current prices of data.

This was revealed on the first day of the Mobile West Africa (MWA) 2017 conference yesterday in Lagos by West Africa Early Adopters.

Although, it was announced at the conference that Nigeria currently has about 21 percent internet penetration against 20 percent which it was in 2016, recording just an increase of 1 percent. This is a slow paced growth if compared to other African countries with higher internet penetration.

However, it looks quite unrealistic to achieve 30 percent internet penetration in 2018 which has been the goal of the ICT industry in Nigeria, considering the present growth rate.

“The figures are small but yet it is important to recognize the efforts of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the network operators for the growth. The number is still slight when compared with other African countries such as Rwanda, which had attained a 33 per cent”, Senior Special Assistant to the President on ICT and Senior Personal Assistant to the Vice President, Lanre Osibona disclosed at the conference.

Meanwhile, the report claimed that there would be 220 million unique mobile subscribers in West Africa by 2020 with penetration hitting 53 percent

The report noted that 46 percent of users in Ghana complained about the poor battery life of their devices, with 68 per cent of users in Nigeria own or can access more than one device.
Also, it is tracked that 24 percent of early adopters spends more than three hours per day on the mobile per day in Nigeria.

At the event, it was stressed that there was the need for fresh investments in the technology sector, as it is becoming imperative the industry to creating the needed jobs that will sustain the economy.

Speaking as a member of the panelists at the conference, Chairman of Signal Alliance, Collins Onuegbu, urged government to create ‘Matching Fund’ for Startups, stressing that it has also become important for the Federal Government to give incentives to investors, who are already taking the pain and risk to invest in Startups and the sector.

Meanwhile, Justin Spratt, Head of Business, sub-Saharan Africa, while new funding is critical to helping the industry, there was a need to develop human capacity, “there is need to invest in coders to create jobs.”

“It has also become necessary for the government to communicate to the young people, the importance of software development, as the future lies in the content creation and software engineering,” he said.