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Nigeria’s active mobile subscriptions inch close to 200m

Active mobile subscriptions in the country are set to hit the 200 million mark as the telcos’ database hits 196 million in June. The latest statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that a total of 4.1 million new mobile lines were activated in the month, thus increasing the figure by 2 per cent from 191.9 million subscriptions recorded in May. With this, the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also increased to 102.88 per cent.

The teledensity is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million. The NCC’s report showed that MTN remained the largest mobile operator by the number of subscriptions in the country. In the month under review, MTN activated 2.7 million new lines, which brought its total active subscriptions to 78.7 million. Globacom, which is the second largest, gained 516,653 new subscribers in the month, to have a total of 52.5 million subscribers. Airtel also activated 966,091 new lines, bringing its customer base to 52.4 million.

However, 9mobile lost 114,004 subscribers in the month under review. This brought its total subscriptions to 12.1 million from 12.2 million it recorded in May. Meanwhile, the total number of Nigerians connected to the internet across mobile, fixed wired and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) also rose significantly in June to hit 143.7 million. While the data subscriptions had been on a steady increase in the last one year as the telcos aggressively push for the deployment of 4G infrastructure, the current COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Nigerians to depend heavily on the internet for several needs. According to the NCC’s data, the mobile networks, MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile remained the preferred choice of connectivity by many Nigerians as the mobile network operators accounted for 99.7 per cent of the internet subscriptions. While mobile internet subscriptions as of June stood at 140.3 million, subscriptions over fixed wired and VoIP stood at 400,727. The report showed that MTN added 1.7 million new internet customers in the month. The telco, which had the largest subscriber both for voice and internet, recorded a total of 60.6 million internet customers as of June this year.

Globacom also came second in terms of internet customers as it added 734,774 new subscriptions, which brought its customer base to 37.9 million. Airtel added 248,784 new internet subscriptions in the month, which brought the telco’s total internet customers to 37.5 million. 9mobile maintained its fourth position with a further decline in the number of its internet customers.

The telco lost 160,927 data customers in June, which reduced its total subscription number to 7.09 million The rapid increase in data users, as opposed to voice, may not also be unconnected with the proliferation of Over the Top Services (OTTs) such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Wechat, IMO, among others, through which subscribers can also make voice and video calls using their data subscriptions.

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