Divided by geographic regions, most of them (2.2 billion) could be found in Asia with a penetration rate of 51.9 per cent.
Europe follows in second place with 719 million users with a high penetration rate of 86.8 per cent.
Next on the list is Africa with 525 million users, which is almost 40 per cent of the continent’s population. This is more than that of North America (327 million) and the Middle East (174 million) combined.
This is according to data compiled by the marketing firm Miniwatts with information from Nielsen Online, by the International Telecommunications Union, by GfK and local regulators.
Based on these statistics, a penetration rate of 39.8 per cent and the highest growth in the past 19 years (11,533 per cent), African online users are set to overtake Europe (719 million) in no time.
High internet usage coexists with cheap data rates and slow download speed
One out of five African internet users is believed to come from Nigeria which has an internet population of 112 million. This is probably because this West African country has one of the cheapest mobile data prices on the continent.
After gathering data for 6,313 mobile data plans from 230 countries, a report by UK-based price comparison website called Cable ranked Nigeria as the 11th African nation with an average price of $2.22 for 1 Gigabyte (GB).
Out of 57 nations, Rwanda came out on the top with the cheapest average price of $0.56 for 1 GB data.
Another Cable report found that a lot of African countries have the slowest internet download speed in the world. For instance, Nigeria has an average download speed of 1.56Mbps while Taiwan has 85.2Mbps, the world’s fastest broadband speed.
It takes an average of over seven hours to download a five-gigabyte file in HD in Nigeria and only eight minutes to download the same file in Taiwan. It is no surprise that Nigeria’s internet download speed is ranked 176th out of the 207 countries measured globally.
Overall, there is only one African country on the list of the top 50 fastest-performing countries and 25 on the list of the world’s 50 slowest-performing nations.
Africa may have rapid internet growth but we still have a long way to go with our speed.