By Olubunmi Adeniyi
Lagos. April 20, 2012. Anambra State topped the scale in number of people with access to mobile phones in Nigeria beating Lagos, the nation’s bustling commercial capital that emerged sixth in a year 2011 nationwide ICT ownership survey that revealed that radio remains the favourite device in the country.
One of the key highlights of the “2011 Annual Socio-Economic Report: Access to ICT” by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) survey obtained by Technology Times also reveals that out of the 167 million Nigerians, 63.9 per cent of the population now have access to mobile phones (see table), underscoring its relatively faster growth compared to radio.
Another key discovery is that out of the number of Nigeria’s teeming mobile telephony user family, only 33.5 per cent of them have access to the service while 30.4 per cent actually own their mobile devices.
In measuring the distribution of ownership and access to these ICTs by states in Nigeria the survey covered five specific devices that include radio, television (TV), mobile phone, personal computers (PC) and the Internet.
The survey carried out by National Bureau of Statistics in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) across all states of Nigeria refocuses attention on the nation’s mobile phone penetration that has witnessed significant growth and seen more than half of the population claiming access to the telecoms service.
According to the report, radio remains the most widely used devices are radios and mobile phones, while internet usage and PC access remained considerably low, the latter’s growth undermined largely by the challenge of electricity.
In a similar vein, 82.9 per cent of Nigerians had total access (those who owned and those who had access only) to radio and 63.9 per cent had access to mobile phones.
While less than half of the population (44.7%) had access to TV, more than 95% of the population lack access to either the PC or the Internet.
Across the country, nearly half of people with access to mobile phones own the device, more than a third own radios while about a quarter own TVs as well as PCs and Internet access devices.
“The results reflect the traditional role occupied by the radio as the oldest and leading source of information dissemination and acquisition by Nigerians, as well as the rising importance of mobile phones in a relatively short span of time. Given the poverty levels in the country combined with the fact that electricity supply still remains a major challenge in most parts of the country, access to TV, PCs and internet facilities could remain difficult for most users.
According to the report, “a person is deemed to have access to a particular ICT if s/he has an opportunity to utilize or derive benefits from the particular ICT. Thus, the percentage of persons with access to a particular ICT (e.g. radio) refers to the proportion of the population which benefits from using such ICT device/resource. Within this group however, the survey also distinguishes between those who own the device, and those who do not own the device but can enjoy its benefits either when it is commercially-provided, or as “free-riders” i.e. provided at no cost to the beneficiaries (e.g. by neighbours).”
Among the states in Nigeria, Anambra has the highest percentage of people with access to mobile phones at 95.1 per cent and nearly 60 per cent of them own the devices, an indicator that, “at least 9 in every 10 persons who reside in the state are likely to have access to a mobile phone”, says the report.
Osun State follows at number two recording 91.9 per cent trailed by Kogi with 87.6 per and Ogun with 87.1 per cent to place third and fourth respectively.
Niger State took the fifth position with 86.2 percent total access to mobile phone.
Despite the urban setting of Lagos, it ranks sixth place with distribution access of 85.6 per cent, the report reveals about the nation’s commercial capital and home to consumers of various telecoms services.
Also on the table, Ebonyi, Imo and Oyo, have 82.0 per cent, 81.9 per cent and 81.5 per cent total access to mobile phones respectively.
On the other hand, Edo, Kwara, Ekiti, Delta, Rivers, Jigawa, Ondo, Nasarawa, Federal Capital Teritory (FCT) Abuja, Enugu, and Abia State range between 80 and 70 per cent.
The states with lowest access to mobile phones are Taraba and Sokoto States with 33.1 per cent followed by Zamfara with 36.1 per cent; Kano with 36.2 per cent; Katsina with 39.7 per cent; Bauchi with 42.8 per cent and Adamawa with 46.5 per cent.
However, those who actually claimed ownership in Taraba state are more than those who do in Sokoto State.
In a related development, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) subscriber data reveals that the nation’s active phone subscriber lines have peaked at over 96 million at the end of January 2012.
According to the statistics obtained from the website of the industry regulator, GSM operators continue to dominate the telecoms market.
The market information reveals that at the end of January 2012 a total of 128,006,376 million GSM lines had been connected out of which 91,052,362 million subscriber lines are active.
Also during the same period, Code Division Multiple Division (CDMA) operators records 13,023,834 connected lines and only 4,410,141 are active.
According to the telecoms regulator’s information, Nigeria’s teledensity stands at 68.68 percent as at January 2012.