These are good times for users of mobile internet in Nigeria. The days when it costs an arm and a leg to get internet on your phone are about to be over. In fact the revolution has begun. It will be televised and you will be able to stream it from your phone at a cost cheaper than what you spend when you are buying your beloved Agege bread and ewa agoyin. You can now sit in that corner of your room, while eating that Agege bread/ ewa agonyin combo, and stream the games between your favorite teams, tweet about it, and later do a video chat with your “chargie” and not worry that the luxury of doing that will drill a hole in your pocket.
The Nigerian Minister for Communication and Digital Economy has taken this as a crusade. Right from when Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami was appointed he went at it headlong. Many people thought it could not be done, that the Minister did not have the balls to impress it upon the Nigerian Communication Commission to see to it that data costs are reviewed downward. Some even said he was overstepping his bounds. But he has pressed on and it has started yielding fruits.
MTN, the biggest network in Nigeria, and the one that boasts of the most expensive data bundles suddenly came out with official data prices that have been slashed. They practically cut the cost of data nearly in half. You can now get 1GB of data for almost as cheap as the cost of a loaf of bread.
Some people have said cheaper internet will open up a flurry of opportunities as people can now do more and be more prosperous by having access to all the possibilities online. It will also lead to some other things getting cheaper, like cable TV for example, as more people will now prefer to stream movies and TV shows online. The cable TV providers will be forced to do something about their costs so that they don’t get swept away by the Tsunami.
This move is even before the proposal that the NCC submitted to the Minister has kicked in. Imagine if now you can get 1GB for 750 naira, what it will be when the proposal goes into force. Some industry players say it might go as low as 300 naira for 1GB. That might make Nigeria the country with the cheapest cost of 1 GB of internet, second only to India. The good days are indeed here. The image below is the current table of cost of internet all over the world.
The next step in this revolution is the availability of free wifi in public places like parks. I know some companies in Abuja have started working on that. People will soon be able to go into any of the parks and connect to free high speed internet while they eat their fish and drink their beer. The airports will also not be left out. The internet revolution is about to be lit, and the Agege bread and ewa agoyin sellers might now be able to connect online and discover new ways of cooking their delicacy.