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Africa’s most populous country swept aside China and South Africa to finish March as the number five country globally for unique monthly users of Opera Mini, rising from its February position as number seven. Now only Russia, Indonesia, India and Ukraine are ahead of Nigeria in terms of unique monthly users.
Until now, South Africa has maintained the top spot in Africa and consistently held sixth place globally for the highest number of Opera Mini users, in all but five months since the State of the Mobile Web reports began in April 2008. Nigeria debuted in the top 10 list in March 2009 but has been less stable in its position, sometimes dropping off the list entirely.
Despite earlier jumpy trends, Nigeria has shown a steady climb in the list of top Opera Mini user countries since September 2010: spending two months each at the ninth, eighth and seventh spots before rising in March to number five — pushing back South Africa to seventh place.
In the year to March 2011, Nigeria experienced 143.5% growth in the number of unique Opera Mini users, compared to 67% growth in South Africa. During the same period, South Africa showed higher growth in the number of monthly page views and data transfer (99.5% and 95.5% respectively) compared to Nigeria (87.7% and 80.0% respectively).
“Nigeria is a country to watch,” said Jon von Tetzchner, Co-founder, Opera Software. “It will be very interesting to see whether its stint as the top African country for Opera Mini turns out to be one-off result or the beginning of a long-term trend for mobile browsing in Africa.”
Opera is the most popular mobile browser in both South Africa and Nigeria, with StatCounter’s March results showing Opera to have 67.5% share of the mobile browser market in South Africa and 87.7% in Nigeria. Opera has 71.8% market share for mobile browsing in all of Africa.