Data is the new oil – Clive Humby
Imagine a world without data. Man and data are two peas in a pod. Data is life: it connects us to our loved ones, brings far experiences closer and gives our business the push it needs.
Data has gone beyond information in numbers and letters, it has gone beyond the processing of data in a computer system to produce output.
Data is also seen as information stored in bytes, megabytes from videos, audio, various file formats and data to access the internet, gaming platforms, social media and online streaming sites.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic brought about a surge in the use of data-related services in different countries of the world with Nigeria not being left out. A few years later, the country’s need has surged with over half of its population having access to Android phones of different varieties.
With Nigeria’s population expected to rise in the coming years, data consumption discussions are a must with a primary focus on the subscription rates that customers have to grapple with.
Let’s delve into the reasons for explosive data consumption in Nigeria
Reasons for Explosive Data Consumption in Nigeria
1. A Surge in Remote Work and Learning
After the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies and individuals are more open to remote work and learning as this allows them to draft their schedules to fit in with other plans. This has led to an increase in the number of people who use mobile devices in Nigeria, leading to a hike in data consumption.
2. Increase in Online Business
The number of online businesses has increased in Nigeria, with more businesses having e-commerce websites to cater to a larger spectrum of their customers; coupled with the fact that not having a physical location is no longer a barrier in setting up businesses in this day.
3. A Boost in Online Streaming
Ever heard the phrase Netflix and chill? This is one of the most popular online streaming platforms for movies, series, rom-coms and other shows to keep viewers glued to their TV sets. Not forgetting others like Apple TV, Hulu and Disney.
More online streaming platforms are being set up by different individuals thereby increasing data consumption in Nigeria.
4. Increase in the Use of Social Media
About 41.6 million Nigerians use Facebook currently and this is just one of the numerous social media platforms in existence today. Let’s also not forget that these Facebook users have accounts with at least two other social media platforms linked to it while some have as many as five or above.
5. Rise in the Use of Smartphones
With mobile phones entering the Nigerian market in the early 2000s and smartphones following suit some years after, their use has skyrocketed across the nation. A person can have as many as three smartphones based on personal preference and usage leading to a rise in data consumption.
Implications of Data Consumption on Subscription Rate
1. Education and Skills
The rise in the use of data services in Nigeria has heralded a corresponding increase in the dissemination of information regarding data use, privacy and policies surrounding them. This will equip individuals to protect themselves as they journey through the online space.
2. Economic Impact
The increase in data consumption in Nigeria has boosted the economy of the nation. With several businesses having an online presence and a boost in e-commerce. Furthermore, this will lead to corresponding growth in other sectors of the economy.
3. Digital Gap
During an earthquake, different locations get diverse rates of impact based on proximity. In the same vein, the explosive use of data hasn’t reached some local communities in Nigeria. Some localities have no idea of how effective the use of data can be.
4. Framework for Regulations
Every society thrives when laws put in place are adhered to. As data consumption hits the roof, major reforms should be made to the existing regulations to accommodate these new facets of development.
5. Privacy and Data Security
The rise in data consumption in Nigeria has led to an increase in cybersecurity threats and data privacy issues. Adequate cybersecurity measures should be enacted to protect users against data breaches and other mishaps.
6. Price and Affordability
An increase in demand leads to an increase in price, hence the possibility of a rise in data prices. This can be seen in the slight differences in recent data prices of the biggest names in the Nigerian telecommunication sector.
7. Network Overload
Like a moving bus filled with passengers, a network overload is inevitable with an explosion in data consumption in the country. Not forgetting that it is the most populous black nation in the world, this only means that more individuals will still hop on to the already congested network.
8. Increased Demand for Infrastructure
An overloaded network will lead to an increase in demand for more telecommunication structures and equipment. Erecting new data centres, cell towers and cables is the pathway to meeting the demand.
With population growth in Nigeria expected to rise in the coming years, the relevant authorities should put the right measures in place to ensure that the implications of explosive data consumption do not hinder effective service delivery in the telecommunication industry.
Researched by Adejoke Toye