A Closer Look at 5G subscription in Nigeria’s Mobile Network


In the fast-paced realm of Nigerian mobile networks, a recent report from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) sheds light on an impressive surge in fifth-generation network (5G) subscriptions. In just six months, from May to November 2023, 5G subscriptions skyrocketed from 265,510 to a whopping 2.14 million, marking an astonishing 707.09 percent increase.

The Mobile Landscape Unveiled: A Snapshot of Network Subscriptions

Diving into the numbers, 2G remains the reigning champion, boasting a commanding 59.32 percent market share with 132.17 million subscriptions. In contrast, 3G is on a gradual decline, claiming only 9.81 percent (21.86 million), while 4G captures a substantial 29.91 percent share (66.64 million). Although 5G presently accounts for just 0.96 percent of total mobile subscriptions, its meteoric rise signals a promising trend in consumer adoption.

5G’s Inauguration and Expansion: From Cities to Nationwide Connectivity

Nigeria witnessed the official launch of 5G in September 2022 by MTN Nigeria, followed by Airtel Nigeria and Mafab Communications. The NCC’s recent revelation that 5G has reached approximately 30 cities reflects a rapid expansion of the next-gen network. However, Ubale Maska, the Executive Commissioner for Technical Standard, acknowledges that the country is still in the early stages of 5G deployment, with less than 30 cities covered and challenges persisting, particularly considering the incomplete coverage of 4G LTE.

Challenges and Aspirations: The Road Ahead for 5G Adoption in Nigeria

Despite the optimistic outlook, challenges loom. Minister Bosun Tijani cites infrastructure limitations as a significant hindrance to 5G growth, stressing the need for nationwide coverage. Looking forward, industry experts predict that 4G will remain the primary driver of new subscriptions until 2029, with 5G making a more significant impact post-2023. GSMA forecasts a surge in 5G adoption, reaching 17 percent by 2030, albeit at a slower pace compared to global trends.

Unlocking 5G: Overcoming Challenges for Nationwide Connectivity

  1. Infrastructure Hurdles: Minister Tijani emphasizes the necessity of widespread infrastructure for unlocking 5G’s potential in Nigeria.
  2. Device Partnerships: Key players like MTN and Airtel collaborate with device manufacturers to enhance 5G penetration, recognizing the critical role of device access in adoption.
  3. Strategic Solutions: As Nigeria navigates this evolving mobile landscape, strategic solutions are essential to address challenges and propel widespread 5G adoption.


while 5G’s growth in Nigeria is undeniable, addressing infrastructure challenges and strategic planning will be pivotal for the nation to fully embrace the transformative possibilities of this next-gen technology.

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