As a country, we have really come a long way in the area of telecommunications technology. Admitted, on the grand scheme of things, there is still a lot of catching up we have to do. But, that doesn’t, in any way, discredit how far we have come. I remember, very well, the early days of mobile phones in the country, owning a sim card was a huge investment. At that time, mobile phones were a no-go area for the bulk of Nigerians. But, presently, a primary school student can comfortably afford to buy a sim card, even two, of his/her own. Mobile phones too have become relatively affordable. With this ease of access, coupled with the spread of internet-enabled phones, came the need for mobile data.
Data consumption by Nigerians has skyrocketed over the years. At the initial stages, data consumption by Nigerians was really low. During that period, the average “internet savvy millennial” could thrive on MTN internet bundles with low data caps. Remember the popular 10mb, 50mb et al plans from back then? Data bundles that, at this present time, would sound ridiculous to even those who aren’t heavy internet users. Nowadays, you find these same people complaining they struggle to survive on 10gb of data monthly. But, back then, they could comfortably thrive on a cumulative 100mb per month – figure intentionally bloated, most people required less.
So, what changed? What happened to the Nigerians who could survive on those MTN internet bundles with small data caps? In my opinion, Nigerians have grown to become aware of the limitless possibilities that abound on the internet. Now, our internet usage has grown beyond simply catching up with friends on Facebook and the good ol’ 2go. Like Adam & Eve, our eyes have become open, positively, to things we never used to be aware of. The direct effect of this on us and our internet culture has been an increase in data consumption.
Nowadays, capped data plans are hardly an option for most people. Increasing numbers of people, not minding the cost, now opt for the ‘relatively expensive’ but uncapped data plans. Why? Because they’d rather pay that much in exchange for optimal results from internet usage. These plans afford people the liberty of doing more, as opposed to what’s obtainable with capped internet plans.
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Like I said earlier, we have really come a long way. Sometimes, I sit back and reflect on how data, which at some point we rarely worried about, has grown to become a big deal, a must have, and I quietly wish we could go back to the days of daily/weekly MTN internet bundles. But, right on the other hand, when I consider the giant strides and feats achieved, I’m always quick to discard that thought.