Users paying less for mobile broadband – Report

The most recent mobile broadband price benchmarking results from Strategy Analytics show that while service speed has grown dramatically in the past one year, users have been paying less.

The average monthly cost for a tablet owner, who uses two gigabytes, has fallen by four per cent since the same period last year to $17.79, while the average advertised speed for the same basket has risen by a massive 123 per cent, to 26 megabytes per second.

For a laptop user requiring 5GB per month, the cost has fallen by nine per cent, and currently averages $25.24, while the speed has risen by 35 per cent over the year, and now stands at just under 24 Mb/s.

On this trend, Teligen Director, Halvor Sannaes, said, “We are seeing some very dramatic movements with mobile broadband pricing. The impact of 4G rollouts on speed is very evident, with some providers offering download in excess of 100 Mb/s.

“What is perhaps surprising, though, is that these big increases in speed are not resulting in extra costs for users. Of course, this will vary by provider, but the overall trend is clear.”

A Senior Tariff Consultant, Mr. Josie Sephton, stated in the report, “The area of mobile pricing is very exciting at the moment. We are seeing a lot of innovations in pricing structures as providers look at how best they can monetise revenues from data and encourage greater use.”

Recent figures from the Nigerian Communications Commission showed that Internet subscriber data in Nigeria on the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication and Code Division Multiple Access platforms is now 50,580,711. The GSM and CDMA platforms are mobile-based.

The commission placed Internet subscription on GSM networks at 50.4 million while that of CDMA networks was put at 168,152.

The data, which covered up till July this year, had MTN dominating Internet subscription for GSM players with a 25.9 million figure. This was followed by Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat with 9.88 million, 9.25 million and 5.35 million figures respectively.

Visafone dominated the CDMA figure with 130,257 Internet subscribers while Starcomms and Multilinks followed with 21,682 and 16,213 respectively.

As of July last year, the aggregate Internet subscription for GSM and CDMA networks was put at 26.6 million. GSM networks had 26.3 million while CDMA networks had 239,984.

However, the number of active telephone lines in the country fell by 5,601,812 in July, putting the number of active subscribers at 114,760,406.

As of the end of June this year, the figure was put at 120,362,218, indicating a decline of 386,536 lines from the 120,748,754 active lines recorded in May.

This, therefore, depicts an inverse relationship between the number of active telephone lines and number of Internet subscription for the period under focus.

 The active telephone line figures for March and April were put at 117,281,669 and 119,356,665 respectively by the NCC.

The Minister of Communications Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson, had recently expressed optimism that the steps taken by the government on broadband initiative will deepen its penetration, create affordability and increase accessibility.

Johnson said global Internet penetration rates had continued to increase as almost 40 per cent of the world’s population was now online.

She observed that people who connected to the Internet in developing countries were fewer than those in more industrialised nations.

According to her, the Nigerian initiative on broadband development is already yielding results as broadband penetration has slightly deepened, resulting in 10 per cent Internet penetration level in the country.

The International Telecommunication Union’s report released recently on global fixed broadband penetration in 183 countries showed Nigeria as having no score in fixed broadband.

The report dated September, placed Nigeria in number 170 with Mauritius leading in Africa and occupying number 67 in the world rating, while Switzerland leads in the global rating with 41.9 per cent followed by The Netherlands, Denmark and France.

The Nigeria’s fixed broadband rating was expected as there were no fixed fibre optic lines network on which the broadband services could run.

However, the report posted 10 per cent mobile broadband penetration per 100 inhabitants for Nigeria as it occupies 90th position out of the 170 countries enumerated, with Ghana leading in the mobile broadband rating in Africa with 33.3per cent penetration and placed 49th on the global rating.

According to the report, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Egypt and South Africa are coming after Ghana, which leaves Nigeria with no choice than to implement its broadband agenda.

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