Nigeria is one of the largest and fastest growing “mobile first” countries in the world. However, only around 38% of Nigerians access mobile data. And, in reality, this number is likely to be significantly lower when considering those who regularly access the internet on their phones.

Recently, I talked to CNBC Africa about the future of mobile data in Nigeria.

What are the barriers?

In Nigeria 90% of the population has a mobile phone, but smartphone ownership remains low, meaning that most Nigerians use handsets that are not data-enabled.

Education is also a factor: like most of us, Nigerians grapple with questions like “What is a megabyte?” and “How many Wikipedia pages can I browse for 10MB?”.

One of the biggest barriers is cost: mobile data remains expensive for most people and, while prices are beginning to come down, there is still a long way to go.

How is Opera helping to break down these barriers?

Nigeria is our third-biggest market in terms of Opera Mini users, but we want to connect even more Nigerians online. Opera Mini is a mobile browser that works on basic phones and smartphones. What makes it special is its compression technology — it shrinks webpages, text and video so that less data is used compared to usual consumption. This can make it more affordable for users and encourage them to get online.

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