This pandemic has revealed major loopholes in connectivity and broadband efforts in Nigeria as many telecom companies came under pressure with the increasing number of people working and learning from home.

These companies have had to adjust their infrastructure to absorb the surge in traffic but so many subscribers complain of how expensive and unreliable the existing data bundles really are. Over social media, #CutDataPrices trended for a few days but yet nothing changed in spite news of other companies like Vodafone in the UK giving 30 days free data to their customers’ as part of their Covid-19 relief efforts.

Some are of the opinion that Telcos could not reduce the price of data during this pandemic not because they don’t want to, the challenge is that they can’t. Apparently, data is not the major revenue stream for Nigeria’s four major telecom companies.

Only 22% of MTN Nigeria’s revenue came from data in Q1 2020 and despite the growing adoption of Airtel Africa’s 4G services, data brought in 22.2% of its revenue in Q1 2019. Voice services account for over 60% of revenues for Nigerian telecom companies making them vulnerable if more subscribers switch to digital communication services.

Meanwhile, that revenue stream is now under threat, in part from digital platforms. Voice revenue is increasingly coming under pressure as mobile subscribers adopt digital services for their communication.

Unrelenting Network Troubles

These networking troubles being faced by their subscribers during the coronavirus will have an impact on a lot of Nigerians with education, white collar jobs, entertainment and more depending solely on a remote structure.

Our new reality isn’t ideal for individuals with internet connectivity issues. Internet connectivity is crucial to successfully working, learning and all round existing from home. With faulty or nonexistent internet connection, workers wouldn’t be able to communicate with coworkers or clients, students wouldn’t be able to tune into online lessons, entertainers cannot put out their work and online orders cannot be placed.

There are a tremendous number of Nigerians that for one reason or another have connectivity issues, whether that’s hardwired internet through broadband or using a mobile network to stay connected. This pandemic has only exacerbated that Nigeria needs a very strong infrastructure and a lot of bandwidth.

Some internet issues people have faced in the past few months include:

  1. Loss of internet or data during work meetings or an online classes.
  2. The inability to load materials or files.
  3. Poor audio or video during conferences or meetings.
  4. The internet not working in certain rooms or angles of the home.
  5. Too many simultaneous users in the house at once.
  6. The internet only working at odd hours of the night etc.

Another problem is affordability, many cannot afford the prices of these telecom data offerings and it hinders the smooth running of a lot of economic activities as well. How right is it that people are forced to stay home but have no ability to do remote learning or working, this a real challenge for an economy like Nigeria.

The suggestion here is for mobile networks to bridge this gap and help keep some semblance of normalcy among Nigerians. No one is asking for free connectivity just one that is affordable.