The 13.33 percent annual increase in active voice subscriptions and the 8.02 percent growth in active internet subscriptions as at the end of the first quarter of 2023 was due to the double digits growth recorded in voice and data services in Zamfara, Kogi, Edo, Benue as well as a few other states, the analysis of the first quarter telecoms industry’s data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) by the Nigerian Observer has revealed.

Importantly, that Edo is among the top three fastest growing states for internet services in the country gives a positive assessment of the investments Governor Obaseki-led administration has pumped into the state’s telecoms sector, towards making it a 21st century economy.

The consistent growth in active voice and internet subscriptions manifested in the country’s overall growth rate as at the end of the first half of this year. This is because the nation’s information and communication sector grew by 10.32 percent in Q1 2023 and 8.60 percent in Q2 2023. But when separated, it became obvious that the telecommunications subsector within the information and communication sector is the sector’s cash cow as it outshined other sub sectors by recording a real growth rate of 11.71 percent in Q1 2023 and 9.74 percent in Q2 2023.

According to the NBS, the total active internet subscriptions increased to 157.55 million subscribers as of March 2023, representing an increase of 1.75 percent on a quarter-on-quarter basis when compared with 154.85 million subscriptions as of December 2022, and 8.02 percent increase on a year-on-year basis when compared to 145.85 million internet subscriptions as of March 2022.

Internet subscriptions grew the most in Kogi State, north central Nigeria as subscriptions increased to 3.36 million active users as of March this year as against 2.92 million active users by last year March. Active subscriptions increased by 13.34 percent in Edo State from 5.08 million active users last March to 5.76 million users as of March 2023.

Active internet subscriptions also rose by 13.15 percent in Benue State, north central Nigeria from 3.56 million users as of March 2022 to 4.02 million users by March 2023.

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Taraba and Delta states with 12.94 percent and 12.59 percent annual growth rates in active internet subscriptions respectively, complete the top five states with the highest annual growth rates in internet subscriptions within the first three months of this year. According to the latest data, active internet subscriptions in Taraba stood at 2.26 million in March 2023 compared to 2 million as of March 2022, while in Delta active internet subscriptions amounted to 5,78 million as of March 2023 as against 5.13 million a year ago.

In addition to promising to connect the University of Benin to the state’s free Wi Fi services recently, Godwin Obaseki-led administration in Edo State has already connected ministries, departments and agencies to the Edo Wi Fi services which could be accessed at the School of Nursing, Limit Road/ Sapele Road; Pensions Bureau, Ring Road Roundabout; Victor Uwaifo Centre, Airport Road; Civil Service Commission, Sapele Road, and the John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy (JOOPSA), Central area Road/Igbinedion Road as well as in other public places in the state.

On voice subscriptions, the NBS added that the total active voice subscriptions in the country rose to 226.16 million as at the end of the first quarter of 2023, amounting to an increase of 1.61 percent over 222.57 million subscriptions as of December 2022, and an annual growth of 13.33 percent when compared to 199.56 million subscriptions as of March 2022.

Zamfara, Kogi, Niger, Kwara, and Ondo states witnessed the highest rates of growth within the first three months of this year in voice subscription services. The growth rate in Zamfara was 21.9 percent as of March 2023, having recorded 2.93 million active voice users in March 2023 as against 2.40 million users during the same period in 2022.

Active voice subscriptions increased by 21.63 percent in Kogi State to 4.85 million by March this year, up from 3.99 million in the same period in 2022. Voice subscriptions grew by 20.5 percent in Niger to 7.75 million; 19.7 percent in Kwara to 5.51 million, and 18.8 percent in Ondo to 5.17 million as of March 2023.