Nigeria has 17M Internet Users, More or Less

Some people have been throwing some fantastical numbers about Nigeria having 43 million internet users.
I really don’t know who cooked up this ultra-sloppy data but no wonder the over-creamed salad of consultancy advices smell like rancid skimmed milk.
If Nigeria has 43 million internet users then I probably have a pink elephant, with wings, prancing around my backyard.
So how many do we have? Judging from MTN’s latest financials (2012), they have 3.8 million smart devices (those that can consume internet without choking up – actually MTN is so parsimonious that not even a 12K US Robotics modem can choke on it) and 201,000 dongles. That comes to 4M internet devices (many being fondle-slabs). Since MTN has 47.5% market ownership, we can extrapolate 8.42M internet devices. If we are optimistic, can we argue that 2 people use a device (Nobody shares my phone with me though). Maybe 17M users. Far cry from 43M.
Why this 43M magical number is apparently not wrong to smart pant consultants baffles me.

Author: dejiolowe

Adédèjì is the founder of Lendsqr, the loan infrastructure fintech powering lenders at scale. Before this, he led Trium Limited, the corporate VC of the Coronation Group, which invested in Woven Finance, Sparkle Bank, Clane, and L1ght, amongst others. He has almost two decades of banking experience, including stints as the Divisional Head of Electronic Banking at Fidelity Bank Plc. He drove the turnaround of the bank’s digital business. He was previously responsible for United Bank for Africa Group’s payment card business across 19 countries. Alongside other industry veterans, he founded Open Banking Nigeria, the nonprofit driving the development and adoption of a common API standard for the Nigerian financial industry. Beyond open APIs, Adédèjì works deeply within the fintech ecosystem; he’s the board chairman at Paystack. Adédèjì is a renowned fintech pundit and has been blogging on technology and payments at since 2001.

2 thoughts on “Nigeria has 17M Internet Users, More or Less”

  1. I think the number actualy refers to the number of people who have ACCESS to the Internet rather than the number of people who OWN A DEVICE CAPABLE OF ACCESSING the Internet.

  2. The MTN statistics points to mobile devices.Should we include other internet access sources (other non mobile telcom providers) I would think internet users are more than 17M?

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