With an Internet speed put at 4.13Mbps, Nigeria is ranked 82nd out of the 87th leading telecoms country surveyed by Open Signal, a platform, which beams search light into the coverage and performance of mobile operators worldwide.
Open Signal in its Global State of Mobile Networks report, noted that operators in South Africa offers the fastest Internet speed across Africa at 9.93Mbps, while South Korea’s speed is the fastest globally at 37.54Mbps.
Open Signal explained that overall speed measurements vary considerably from country to country depending on their particular stage of generation – 3G and 4G development. For instance, a country with fast Long Term Evolution (LTE) speed but low 4G availability might have a much lower overall speed than a country with moderate LTE speed but a very high level of 4G availability.
For clarity, the report defines overall speed “as the average mobile data connection a user experiences based on both the speeds and availability of a country’s 3G and 4G networks.”
For Nigeria, the implication is that the Internet speed is still very low despite the availability of various submarine cable systems with about 10 Terabytes capacity of bandwidth still lying fallow at the various landing points in the country. It has been an uphill task to move this capacity from the shores to the hinterlands and other cities because of lack last mile infrastructure. This has resulted in Internet users spending several minutes to either upload or download a video successfully.
It must however, be mentioned that about three years ago, the Internet speed was 1.5Mbps before the current status in Nigeria. Further analysis of the Open Signal report showed, Ivory Coast, which ranked 58 in the global survey, is second on the continent after South Africa, which is in the 48th position. Internet speed in Didier Drogba’s country is at 7.64Mbps. Morocco, which placed 60th, occupies the third place in Africa with a speed of 7.36Mbps. Tunisia is fourth with 7.21Mbps on the continent and 62nd globally. Kenya is 67th globally and fifth in Africa with an Internet speed of 6.75Mbps, while Ghana placed 79th on the world stage, it runs as number six in Africa with an average speed of 4.81Mbps.
Open Signal’s report also tracked the amount of time users spend on WiFi and in 38 of the countries analysed, it found smartphone users spent more time connected to WiFi than to mobile networks. But the report also stated that time spent accessing the Internet via WiFi, does not reflect on the quality of mobile connections.
The Netherlands, for instance, despite featuring in the top 10 countries for mobile Internet speeds still had the most users (68.5 per cent) connected via a WiFi access point.
Norway is second with 34.77Mbps; Hungary is third with 31.04Mbps; Singapore is fourth with 30.05 Mbps; Australia placed fifth with 26.25Mbps. The United Kingdom ranked 26th with 15.13 Mbps; Germany is at 30th position with 13.79Mbps, while the United States at 36th position globally, has an Internet speed of 12.48Mbps.
In developing countries though, the dynamic is different as the report found that a lower percentage of users accessed the Internet via WiFi, not necessarily because mobile networks offer faster connections but likely because of “less robust broadband infrastructure.”
While Internet speeds are one thing, the cost of Internet access is another. As Quartz has previously reported, geographical location plays a major role in determining internet prices on the continent.