Nigerians Consume Over 80 million Gigabytes of Data per Month Despite Paying More

Nigerians Spend Over 80,000 Terabytes of Data per Month, but not because it's Affordable

Internet subscribers in Nigeria consume over 80,000 terabytes (80 million gigabytes) of data per month. The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta revealed this while addressing complaints from users regarding sharp data depletion by network providers.

According to latest statistics on data usage, Nigerians are consuming in excess of 80,000 terabytes of data every month. We have seen this trend for a while, with an increase in data usage associated with an increase in online activity.

Prof Umar Danbatta, NCC EVC

“Therefore, there has been a rise in demand for data by consumers,” he added.

Nigerians have complained in recent times about the rather quick exhaustion rate of data purchased from operators including MTN and Airtel.

However, the NCC claims it is probing the unreasonable deduction of customers’ mobile data through its ongoing forensic audit of operators’ database as part of measures to protect subscribers.

Data Consumption in Nigeria Compared to the Rest of Africa

In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Nigeria’s monthly data consumption of 80,000 tb (80 million gb) is only topped by South Africa, which expends up to 269,000 tb every month. Kenya and Ghana complete the four largest consumers, using 22,400 tb and 8,100 tb of monthly internet data respectively.

Africa's Internet Population is the Fastest Growing in the World- International Telecommunications Union

But, Ghana and Kenya switch places when monthly data usage is measured relative to the number of internet users. With 36.54 million internet users, South Africa still leads with 7.4gb per user. Nigeria’s 108.27 million internet subscribers see data spent per user at 0.73gb, followed by Ghana’s 0.55gb and Kenya’s 0.47gb.

Only South Africa and Nigeria exceed the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 0.62gb per user, serving as proof that internet activity across SSA is concentrated in these two countries.

Nigeria has Least Internet Affordability in Africa

According to a Surfshark report which featured 85 countries worldwide, Nigeria ranked 85th based on internet affordability. The report factored in data from sources including United Nations, World Bank and International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Source: Surfshark

Of the six African countries researched in the report, South Africa ranks highest (34th), followed by Tunisia (64th), Algeria (66th), Morocco, (71st), and Kenya (74th) while Nigeria comes last at 85th.

With an internet affordability index of 0.006, Nigeria trails South Africa (0.11), Tunisia (0.078), Algeria (0.03), Morocco (0.028) and Kenya (0.019).

Also, Nigerians work hardest to buy internet data. Compared to a global average of 10 minutes, the average Nigerian works for 27 minutes 55 seconds to afford 1gb of mobile data. In fact, Nigerians put in 33 hours 42 minutes of work to afford the cheapest broadband plan, more than 4000% of the global average of 48 minutes.

Nigeria has the slowest and least stable internet of the African countries studied; Source: Surfshark

While the report may not entirely reflect Nigerian’s data affordability, it is important to note that Nigeria’s N30,000 ($78) minimum wage is only $12 more than Cameroon’s $66 – the lowest in Africa. Nigeria’s minimum wage is also lower than its estimated monthly cost of living (N43,200), according to Statista.

With over 80 million Nigerians earning less than 38% of the minimum wage, the majority of Nigerians have significantly low purchasing power and cannot afford to buy the standard 1gb data every month.

Moreover, this statistic explains why Nigerians have to work long hours to afford the cheapest broadband (3G/4G) plan. The average Nigerian works 40 hours per week, totalling about 160 hours per month.

What this means is that about 80 million Nigerians are working roughly 160 hours to earn less than N30,000 per month, at a hourly income of less than N187.5. Going by these figures, it is nearly impossible for such people to afford 1gb data each month.

Although Nigeria’s internet data consumption continues to rise, it is more reflective of the country’s internet population, which is the highest in Africa, rather than an indication of data being very affordable to subscribers.


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