The number of internet users in Nigeria’s telecommunications networks declined to 91,910,341 in December 2016, the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has said.
The NCC made the disclosure in its Monthly Internet Subscribers Data for November and December, obtained on Monday by the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.
According to the data released, internet users on both Global System for Mobile communications, GSM, and Code Division Multiple Access, CDMA, networks dropped to 91,910, 341 in December as against 92,446,687 users recorded in November 2016, recording a decline of 536,346.
The analysis showed that out of the 91,910,341 internet users in December, 91,880,032 were on GSM networks, while 30,309 were on CDMA networks.
The data also revealed that the GSM service providers lost 536,346 internet customers after recording 91,880,032 users in December as against 92,416,378 it recorded in November.
The CDMA operators, however, retained 30,309 internet subscribers in December, the same figure it recorded in November 2016.
The data revealed that MTN had 31,753,369 subscribers browsing the internet on its network in the month under review.
It explained that MTN recorded a drop of 264,410 internet subscribers in December after recording 32,017,779 in November.
Etisalat, the data revealed, had 13,752,940 customers who browsed the internet in December revealing a decrease of 379,067 users against the 14,132,007 users recorded in November.
According to the data, Globacom has 27,010,178 customers browsing the internet on its network in December, revealing a decline of 112,714 users from the 27,122,892 that used the internet on the network in November.
The NCC data revealed that the CDMA operators, Multi-Links and Visafone, had a joint total of 30,309 internet users on their networks in December, maintaining the same record of November.
According to the data, Visafone has 30,305 customers surfing the internet in December, while Multi-Links has just four internet users.
Analysts posit that the decline in use of the internet shows that there is urgent need for stakeholders in the industry to sensitize the people on the potentials of internet usage.
Seye Adebayo, a communication consultant based in Lagos, said the Nigerian government, network service providers and other relevant stakeholders should put effort into ensuring that Nigerians are encouraged to embrace the use of the internet. He explained that the need is to ensure that other countries do not leave the nation behind in the global technology revolution.
“We must do something drastic to encourage internet usage. The decline (in number of subscribers) is not something good, really. Internet is the next goldmine; the next ‘oil’. Countries world over are embracing internet usage, especially their youths” he told PREMIUM TIMES in an interview.
“Some people are even calling on government to subsidize internet usage. Nigeria must not be left behind in this global internet revolution.”