Nigeria’s internet subscribers rise by nearly 8m in Q3 2020


Internet subscribers in Nigeria rose by 7.87 million to 151.5 million in the third quarter of 2020 (Q3 2020) stoked by high demand for online engagement forced on people by the coronavirus lockdown.

It represented a 5.48 per cent notch over the 143.6 million subscribers in Q2 2020, according to the latest telecoms report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

Subscribers in Q3 2020 also increased by 28.3 million (23 per cent) over the 123 million in Q3 2019.

The leader board

MTN held the highest internet market share of 42 per cent in Q3 2020. Its total active subscribers was 64.35 million.

Airtel followed with a market share of 27 per cent (40.31 million), Globacom 26 per cent (39.13 million), and 9mobile 5 per cent (7.3 million).

The four major networks recorded growth in active internet subscribers compared to Q2 2020, but 9mobile lost 1.19 million between Q3 2019 and Q3 2020.


A summary of the figures reported by Nairametrics show that

All networks increased their customer base by over 9 million in Q3 2020 compared to Q2 2020 while 26.1 million were added year-on-year.

· MTN has a market share of 40 per cent as of Q3 2020, followed by Airtel 26.9 per cent, Glo 26.4 per cent, 9mobile (6.2 per cent), and others 0.2 per cent.

· MTN increased subscribers 4.9 per cent (QoQ), Glo 3.2 per cent.

· Airtel grew customer base 5.3 per cent, 9mobile 5.1 per cent

· Increase in active internet subscribers largely attributed to increased usage of the internet due to coronavirus lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic.

· During the lockdown, people worked remotely, which necessitated the use of the internet to communicate in most organisations.

· Nigerians also used internet video calls to communicate with family members at home and abroad.

· The lockdown led to increased adoption of tech-related services, with a number of Edtech, Healthtech, Fintech, et cetera being setup.

· In December 2020, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) instructed telecom operators to block all SIM cards not registered with their National Identity Numbers (NIN).

· This could trigger a decline in the number of active subscribers since many are still unable to register for their NIN with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC).

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