The 38 Internet service providers, or ISPs, that recently received a license to operate in Nigeria, including Elon Musk’s Starlink, are now included in an updated list published by the Nigerian Telecommunications Commission, or NCC.

This increases the number of ISP in the nation from 187 as of December 2021 to 255 as of September 2022.

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet constellation was given permission to operate in Nigeria in May of this year.

While other ISPs hope to distribute connectivity for their customers using the country’s existing bandwidth capacity, the company will be operating differently thanks to its already installed satellites.

With its more than 3,000 mass-produced small satellites in Low Earth Orbit, Starlink currently offers internet access to more than 40 countries (LEO)

Starlink had more than 500,000 subscribers worldwide as of June 2022.

The NCC hopes to accelerate the country’s plan to reach its target of 70% broadband penetration by 2025 as the country welcomes 38 new ISPs.

Although it has been noted that the majority of ISPs are more concentrated in the three major cities of Abuja, Lagos, and Port Harcourt, leaving out other cities across the nation, this can be greatly improved by focusing on rural areas.

The digital divide between Nigeria’s urban and rural populations is getting wider as a result.

A Data report titled “Digital 2022 Nigeria” states that only about 49% (104.9 million) of Nigerians have access to the internet because of a lack of adequate internet service infrastructure.

The NCC welcomes the large influx of ISPs, but the competition between smaller ISPs and the “big” players, the Mobile Network Operators, MNO, has caused a conflict in the industry.

However, because the majority of these smaller ISPs have been kicked off the market, their future is in jeopardy.

The operations of the major MNOs, including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile, are to blame for the fierce competition in the retail data market, according to the smaller ISPs. These MNOs have introduced extremely affordable data offers for customers, leaving the smaller ISPs fighting for survival in the Nigerian internet market.