Internet subscription through the Global System for Mobile Communication networks leapt by 22.07 million to reach 50.41 million between August 2012 and July 2013, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.
Statistics published by the regulatory agency on its website showed that the active subscribers, who browsed the Internet through connection provided by GSM operators, grew by 77.9 per cent within the period to peak at 50.41 million.
MTN Nigeria Communications Limited had the highest number of active subscribers as it provided connection to 25.93 million subscribers, a little more than 50 per cent of the total number that browse the Internet through the GSM networks.
Within the period of one year, MTN grew its subscription from 17.41 million to 25.93 million subscribers, showing an increase of 48.88 per cent.
However, Globacom gained the most in terms of percentage increase and absolute numbers as it grew its Internet users from 924,587 subscribers in August 2012 to 9,884,433 by the end of July 2013.
This shows an addition of 8,959,846 within a period of one year or a growth rate of 96.06 per cent.
On the other hand, Etisalat grew its Internet users the least as the subscription rose from 5,227,187 in August 2012 to 5,351,069 by the end of July 2013. This shows a growth of 2.37 per cent within the one-year period.
Airtel’s Internet subscription rose from 4,969,529 in August 2012 to 9,251,208 by the end of July this year. This shows an addition of 4,281,679 subscribers or a growth rate of 86.16 per cent within the period.
Following a study conducted by KPMG Professional Services, the NCC had in April declared two of the operators, MTN and Globacom, as dominant operators.
While MTN was declared a dominant operator in two market segments, mobile voice market and wholesale leased lines and transmission capacity market, Globacom was declared a dominant operator in wholesale leased lines and transmission capacity market.
The rising rate of Internet subscription through the telecommunication networks reflects the increasing importance of data services as a stream of income to mobile telecommunications service providers.
At the earlier stages of the introduction of digital mobile services in the country, network operators had concentrated on voice services.