Nigeria’s telecommunications subscribers consumed 353.1 terabytes of data in 2021. This was disclosed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in its 2021 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report released today.

The report shows that the amount of data being used by an average Nigerian increased last year. According to the data, the 2021 figure was a 68% increase compared with the 209.9 terabytes consumed in 2020. This was in spite of an 8% decrease in internet subscriptions in the year.

Affected by the directive from NCC in December 2020 to all GSM Operators to suspend the sale and registration of new SIMs, SIM swaps, and all porting activities, subscriptions for internet decreased from 154.3 million as of December 2020 to 141.9 million as of December 2021.

The increase in the volume of data consumption by the subscribers, however, covered the network operators in terms of revenue. This is reflected in the 2021 financial results of two of the leading network operators, MTN and Airtel, which showed a surge in earnings from data.

MTN, for instance, recorded 55% increase in data revenue for the year as it raked in N516 from its internet customers. Airtel Nigeria also raked in N304 billion as data revenue for the year, representing a 41.1% increase.

The two operators acknowledged that their 4G expansion across the country was the driving force for the increase in data usage by their customers.

Other key points from the annual data

  • Subscriber number decreased from 204.6 million in 2020 to 195.4 million active voice subscriptions as of December 2021, with a loss of 9.1 million subscriptions. This represents about a 4.46% decline in total subscriptions within the period under consideration.
  • Nigeria`s teledensity decreased from 107.18% as of December 2020 to 102.40% by December 31st, 2021.
  • The number of Internet Subscribers decreased from 154.3 million subscriptions as of December 2020 to 141.9 million Subscriptions as of December 2021, representing a decline of 8%.
  • Broadband Penetration decreased from 45.02% as of December 2020 to 40.88% as of December 2021.
  • Similarly, Broadband Subscriptions decreased from 85.9 million subscriptions in December 2020 to 78 million subscriptions as of December 2021.

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