The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released internet subscription data for the period June 2012 to February 2013. The data says that as at February

Nigeria has 32 million mobile internet subscribers – NCC

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Ng mobile internet subscriptions

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has released internet subscription data for the period June 2012 to February 2013. The data says that as at February 2013, there were 32 million mobile internet subscriptions in the country, making up about 70% of total internet subscriptions in Nigeria.

The overall trend of mobile internet subscriptions forming the bulk of internet connections in Nigeria today does not come as a surprise. I was an advocate of the idea many years ago. My article, Mobile Data: Bridging The Internet Divide In Africa, where I wrote to say that this was the quick way forward for Nigeria and for Africa as a whole, was first published in 2005 on Mobile Africa (now TechBaron). What is surprising is the spread of these 32 million subscriptions. Have a look:

MTN: 21,308,725
Airtel: 5,870,690
Etisalat: 4,354,845
Glo: 801,218

I find it shocking that Glo has only 800,000 of those 32 million mobile internet subscribers. How did that happen? And how did Airtel clinch 2nd place? These are surprising for sure.

Whither CDMA?

What of internet subscriptions via CDMA networks? Here are the figures:

Visafone: 87,691
Starcomms: 63,198
Multilinks: 26,894

Very poor showings from CDMA operators. As I have said before, CDMA is largely a lost cause in Nigeria.

For the foreseeable future, GSM rules the telecoms terrain in Nigeria. It is good to see the NCC providing more detailed data on what goes on in the industry. With a little more push, we can have very accurate figures to work with.

I have also updated our Nigeria Facts page with these figures. You should bookmark that page for statistics, configuration settings, glossary and tips on mobile use.


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  1. Hmm..

    Just a dose of negativity here..

    Why should I trust these figures, seeing that we do not even have an accurate census figure,?

    Data that can not be trusted is the same as NO data!

  2. @eye.bee.kay, where else can you get more accurate figures if not from the NCC?

    if this is not accurate.. I am sure it is damn close to it. Also, whatever the accurate figure might be.. It cant change the positions of each service provider above there.

    Though surprised by the position of glo… I am very happy about it. Glo has since declined in their data service quality since 2010. Guess all their subscribers like moved moved on to other networks with better service. They should keep on talking about their glo 1 cable and LTE provision while they only offer below average data speeds.

  3. . Lol, Belushi

    // @eye.bee.kay, where else
    can you get more accurate
    figures if not from the

    Unfortunately, nowhere else.

    But then, the National Population Commission is the sole Authority on national population figures.

    Would you trust their figures?

    Take these figures with large goblets of liquefied salt, especially that GLO figure.

    Seeing that Android phones are now like pure WATER, everywhere , it would not surprise me if they are close to the top.

    This is due to the use of the BB BSM plan on non BlackBerry phones (especially Androids)

  4. Well, I may have to believe these figures to an extent.
    First off, the shared subscription by Glo, was it counted as a single subscription or multiple? Coz so many people I know, myself inclusive, make use of that opportunity.

    Second. I think Airtel has made things a whole lot easier for us with the bcm/bsm subscription that can be used on other devices. So its a smart choice for most android users instead of paying 3k for 1g since bsm/bcm gives U????? the same data amount.

    I’ve had ?¥ current Glo line for years now, but where I stay in Abakaliki, I dnt have steay network. We’ve made repeated complaints to Gloworld here but we’ve only had promises(I was told it costs much money). But then Airtel came along with 3g even in almost every town. Tell •??? why I won’t switch to Airtel?

  5. For some reason i find the remarkably low numbers given to glo strangely believable probably due to the issues I had with activating data on my glo line, the issue of their different APNs.

    I would like to know if this number also includes blackberry users

  6. Not surprised at GLO’s figure. Open nature of Airtel’s BCM/BSM played a major role in their number 2 position. Etisalat? I would wager that MTN would see a sharp decline thanks to their capped BIS packages. How sharp? no idea

    “I don port o”

  7. Glo’s problem is mostly apn settings. On other network, they’re easy to remember, just slot one in and it works for all data plans or PAYG Plans. But on Glo, there’s a separate apn for data, and another for 3G, and another for browsing via Airtime, the user has to be changing all these if he/she has to connect. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

    My own glo sim now, I’ve never been able to browse with it except when using BIS, I’ve tried all the apn, none worked! But on Eti, just put Etisalat as apn and dey browse dey go. It is similar with MTN and Airtel too…

  8. I think the data should not just be quantity of data subscribers, but more importantly volume of data subscription. Glo may be Laing behind in the number of subscribers but the little subscribers they have might high data volume subscribers, so it’s not just the quantity that should count but the risk volume subscribed for.
    I use Glo 10GB monthly shared among 5 lines.

  9. All posts in responds to this report are all legit concerns. My only contribution is on the Brands with least marketshare. Why should anyone say the numbers are wrong? When it is very obvious Glo & co is been performing abismally in the past 4 years. This has proved truely the lack of innovation by some of the Nigerian Business leaders who rely on midiocrity & political benevoulence as against building strong competative & true business practices.

    If Glo dose not recognise the potentials in the Mobile Data Access Market & what to do with it, then, there is a problem. Glo should be awere that if it cannot serve this channel then, they will not be part of the future.

    By the way I don’t know any one using Glo line to access internet confortably vie mobile phone the way MTN does period! Airtel’s performance too in this market is excellent, given the state of the comany before they came in. Airtel is a strong competatitor.

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