Main trends

The rise in uptake of smartphones in Nigeria has resulted in the use of several mobile apps. The SimilarWeb app store ranking for June 2020 listed the following 25 apps in this order of ranking: 1) Whatsapp Messenger 2) Zoom Cloud Meetings 3) Facebook lite 4) OperaMini Fast web browser 5) Jumia Online Shopping 6) WhatsApp Business, 7) Xender Share 8) Instagram 9) TikTok lite) Telegram 11) Snapchat 12) Phoenix Browser 13)Facebook 14) Opera News lite 15) Opera news Breaking-Local 16) Facebook Messenger 17) Audiomack 18) Twitter 19) Truecaller 20) Boomplay21) Messenger lite 22) MyMTN23) Playit 24) Emoji Keyboard 25) Trust Crypto Wallet.

On the other hand, despite the growth of mobile phone ownership in Nigeria, the uptake of mobile money has been, at best, limited. Cash remains the most popular form of payment in Nigeria. According to estimates of the Nigeria Central Bank, there are about 50 million unbanked Nigerians with only 6 percent of financial transactions in the country conducted through mobile money. The CBN has registered about 21 mobile money operators but only a few of them are active. Some of the active money operators are those operated by commercial banks such as United Bank for Africa/AfriPay (U-Mobile), Zenith Bank (EazyMoney); Guaranty Trust Bank (GTMobile Money), FirstBank/Pridar (First-Money), Stanbic IBTC (*909# Mobile Money) and Ecobank (Ecobank Mobile Money). However, Paga, a private operator, is the leading mobile money operator in Nigeria. However, the entry of Telcos to the mobile money services segment is considered a game-changer. On July 25, 2019, the Central Bank of Nigeria licensed Yéllo Digital Finacial Services Limited, a subsidiary of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, the biggest telecom mobile operator in Nigeria.

In addition, there are other telecommunication-based platforms that have enabled subscribers to access services such as health advice, educational tools and government services. According to the GSMA report on digital inclusion and the role of mobile in Nigeria, mobile operators and local investors are leveraging mobile communication to deliver content to subscribers.

Some of these include:

· the Nova-Lumos mobile electricity, a joint venture between MTN and Nova-Lumos to provide electricity to MTN subscribers resident in rural areas that are not connected to the electricity grid

· the m4change programme, a e-health project that supports the health of pregnant women and new mothers in Abuja and Nasarawa state;

· Glo-National Health Insurance, a partnership to enable Glo Subscribers to access healthcare in exchange for premia paid over the phone;

· the Nokia Life+ English Teacher mobile app, a partnership with UNESCO that enables that allows primary school teachers access professional support free of charge;

· iPolice, an e-government project enables Nigerians to report crimes and provide other information to the police.

Despite these laudable efforts of digital inclusion, a widening digital divide has emerged between rural areas and city centres. This is caused by the lack of requisite digital infrastructure for mobile telecommunication in rural regions.