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Global digital population hits 4.5 billion

With Covid-19 confining within the four walls of their rooms and home, the internet becomes and is becoming a ready resource or platform for commercial and noncommercial interactions.  The implication of this is that more and more people are becoming prone to using the internet. That also has an impact on the global digital population. According to information from Statistica, about 4.57 billion people were active users of the internet in April 2020. This represents 59% of global population.

Among the global internet users, China, India and the United States of America recorded more internet users than the rest of the countries.  As Covid-19 makes it more obvious that much can be done through the internet without any physical presence, the current global online penetration rate of 59% will increase in no distant time. Places like Northern Europe are almost there with a 95% internet penetration rate, Other countries with high internet penetration rates include the United Arab Emirate (UAE), Denmark, and South Korea. Ironically, the next-door neighbour to South Korea, North Korea has almost zero internet penetration rate.

Qua Vadis Nigeria:  Nigeria as a country and Nigerians as a people have not been doing too badly when it comes to the issue of digital population. According to available data from the National Bureau of Statistics, active internet users/subscribers total 136,203,231  as at the end of Q1 2020. That represents almost 51% of the entire population. Compared to a similar period a year ago, Nigeria recorded an increase in internet penetration rate of 17.1% on year on year basis and 8.03% increase on a quarter to date basis.

State-wide digital population: Lagos state has the greatest number of internet users in Nigeria, with slightly over 17 million users, followed by Kano state with 8.3 million users and then Ogun state with 8.03 internet users. The state with the least internet penetration is Bayelsa state where only 985 thousand people were connected to the internet as at Q1 2020.

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MTN remains the carrier with the largest number of subscribers as 57.3 million internet subscribers in Nigeria are with MTN, while AIRTEL came second with 36.8 million subscribers but closely followed by GLO with 33.9 million subscribers. All those three benefits from 9Mobile, whose loss of a few of its subscribers added to the subscription growth of the bigger market players.

Voice subscription: A lot more Nigerians are using their phones for voice services, though. According to the same data from the National Bureau of Statistics, 189, 282,796 Nigerians have voice subscriptions in Q1 2020.  This implies that about 54 million Nigerians have phones that are not internet-enabled. With Covid-19 and the need for students in the tertiary and secondary schools being required to do some or most of their assignments on the internet, that number will change very soon.

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