Nigeria’s internet users dipped by 7.99 percent to 141.9 million as telecoms operators lost 12.3 million data subscribers in 2021.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said this in its telecoms data released on Monday.
Sales of SIM cards stifled the telecoms sector in 2021, coupled with the ongoing national identification number (NIN) and SIM integration exercise.
In 2020, the federal government directed the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to audit the subscriber registration database.
The directive instructed mobile network operators to suspend the sale, registration and activation of new SIM cards.
The controversial policy denied new entrants into the country access to purchase mobile lines while existing users who want to retrieve their lost lines were not allowed access.It was lifted in April.According to NBS, a total of 141,971,560 subscribers were active on the internet in the fourth quarter of 2021, as against 154,301,195 in the same period of 2020, representing a 7.99 percent decrease in internet subscriptions year-on-year.“In Q4 2021, a total of 195,463,898 subscribers were active on voice as against 204,601,313 in Q4 2020. This represents a 4.47 percent decrease in voice subscriptions Year-on-Year. Quarter-on-Quarter growth was 2.42 percent,” the report reads.“A total of 141,971,560 subscribers were active on the internet as against 154,301,195 in Q4 2020. This represents a 7.99 percent decrease in internet subscriptions Year-on-Year.“Lagos State had the highest number of subscribers in terms of active voice per state in Q4 2021, followed by Kano State and Ogun State, while Bayelsa and Ebonyi states had the least number of subscribers. However, MTN had the highest share of subscriptions in Q2, Q3, and Q4 2021.”Index showed that internet subscribers in the state dipped by 1.23 million in one year.In Katsina and Kano states, subscribers also dipped by 1.21 million and 1.15 million year-on-year, respectively. Zamfara (888,817), Sokoto (676,259) and Ogun state (574,727) also recorded declines.Isa Pantami, minister of communications and digital economy, had said the internet subscribers that deserted the telcos within one year are mostly criminals.“The over 12 million that have dropped are mostly criminals that cannot come out to regularise their numbers,” the minister had said.