How Nigeria’s 5G Subscriptions Reached 2.3 Million in 2023 – NCC

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Data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed a significant increase in 5G subscriptions in the country, reaching 2.3 million in December 2023. This represents 1.04% of the total active telephone subscribers, which stood at 124.7 million at the end of the year.

MTN, Airtel, and Mafab Communications are the three mobile network carriers that have launched 5G in Nigeria. However, despite efforts to expand the service, several factors, including the high cost of 5G devices, have hindered subscriptions.

As of December 2023, most telephone connections in Nigeria were still on 2G, accounting for 57.84% of all connections. Meanwhile, 9.80% were on 3G, and 31.33% were on 4G, showing a steady rise from 25.06% in May 2023.

While 5G infrastructure has been deployed across major cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt, slow adoption persists due to device limitations. The high cost of smartphones, compounded by soaring inflation, has deterred many from upgrading to a 5G connection.

Mohammed Rufai, Chief Technical Officer of MTN Nigeria, highlighted device compatibility as a major challenge, leading operators to maintain 2G and 3G networks. He emphasized the need to cater to subscribers with older devices while investing in newer technologies.

A recent report from the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) revealed that 5G coverage in Africa was the lowest in the world at 6% as of December 2023, indicating a broader challenge across the continent.

Despite these challenges, the increase in 5G subscriptions reflects a growing interest in advanced telecommunications technology in Nigeria.

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