Nigerians overpay on internet data – global study

By Abimbola Mohammed

A global report has shown that Nigerians pay more than other countries in the world when it comes to internet data services. Recently, Surfshark, a VPN service company that offers products such as data leak detection system and private search tool released the Global Internet Value Index (IVi), which uncovers countries that are overpaying for their internet connection plan.

Nigeria is in 109th place in the world with an index 44 times lower than the global average. Oceania and Europe lead the world in internet value, while internet affordability in North America, South America, and Africa is below average.

Globally, only 4 out of 10 people get their internet at fair prices, while the remaining 61% overpay for the internet they get. Global Internet Value index (IVi) is calculated by dividing each country’s internet speed by internet affordability to determine which countries are overpaying for their internet.

According to the report, “Nigeria ranks 109th globally with an index of 0.0017, which is 44 times lower than the global average, meaning Nigerians are overpaying for the internet they get compared to other countries worldwide.

In terms of regional position, Nigeria ranks 16th with its index 56% lower than Africa’s average. Nigeria is in 12th place in Sub-Saharan Africa, while countries like South Africa and Ghana rank 70th and 105th respectively, both overpaying for the internet they get. Nigeria has a 90% lower index compared to South Africa and 26% lower index compared to Ghana.

“Internet Value index offers to look at internet connection from a practical perspective – whether we get what we pay for. Even economically affluent countries with relatively fast internet can overpay compared to others worldwide,” said Agneska Sablovskaja, Lead Researcher at Surfshark.

“However, some countries may have slower internet but also pay a considerably lower price, which is then considered fair,” she added.

Comparing internet value in Africa, 4 out of every 10 people can access the internet at a fair price. South Africa remains the outright leader, with Egypt ranking second, followed by Morocco. While the top-ranking African country, South Africa, is part of the Sub-Saharan Africa subregion, the Northern Africa subregion performs better overall, with the average index of its 4 countries being 2 times higher than Sub-Saharan Africa’s. All Northern African countries have above-average internet value, while only 1 in 4 (26.3%) Sub-Saharan African countries do. Zimbabwe and Uganda are the lowest-ranking African countries, followed closely by Cameroon.

4 out of 10 people in Asia can access the internet at a fair price compared to the rest of the region. Israel takes the lead in Asia with the best internet value index, followed by Singapore and South Korea.

Recall that Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC)  in its Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) 2021-2025, also known as NCC’s 5-Point Agenda, is contributing to the steady rise in the nation’s quest to achieve 70% national internet coverage by 2025.

Recently, Prof Umar Danbatta, the Commission’s Executive Vice Chairman, stated that Nigeria’s broadband penetration recorded a quantum leap in the last 7 months from November 2021 to May 2022, with 7 million new subscriptions.

“Internet subscribers have grown from 90 million in 2015 to 150.36 million as of May 2022. Also, within the period under review, broadband penetration increased from 8 per cent to 43.67%, indicating that over 83.3 million subscribers are on broadband networks of 3G and 4G. Indeed, between November 2021 and May 2022, the networks have added 7 million new users.

“It is our belief that the communications industry will continue to experience more quantum leaps that will be beneficial to the nation’s economy and its citizens,’’ he said.


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