Nigeria’s active mobile subscriptions rise by 1.5m

Database hits 189m

Active mobile subscriptions across the networks of MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile increased by 1.5 million in August. According to the latest industry data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), this brought the country’s total active mobile subscriptions to 189 million as of August-end from 187.5 million recorded in July. The August figure showed that the operators are steadily regaining their lost customers after government’s policy on SIM registration caused them to over 20 million subscriptions between December 2020 and April 2021. Active mobile subscriptions across the four networks, which stood at 207.5 million as of November 2020, had plunged to 186.6 million by May this year. Unlike the record in July when only one out of the four operators gained new subscriptions, all the operators recorded an increase in their database in August. According to the NCC’s data, MTN, which is the largest operator by subscriber number, gained 9,598 new subscriptions in the month. This brought its total active customer database to 73.1 million.

Globacom added 845,467 new subscriptions in August to retain its position as the second-largest operator. The telco’s active customer database rose to 51.9 million at the end of the month. Airtel also activated a total of 558,787 new lines in the month under review to record 50.8 million total subscriptions. In the same vein, 9mobile gained 113,087 new subscriptions.

This pushed up the telco’s total subscriptions to 13.02 million from the 12.9 million it recorded in the previous month. With the growth recorded by the operators, the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also increased to 100.72 per cent jumped to 99.18 per cent from 98.39 per cent recorded in July.

According to NCC, the teledensity is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million. The gains recorded in August came as the highest so far since the ban on SIM registration was lifted in April this year. After months of consistent losses, the operators were able to bounce back in June as SIM activations resumed fully. The operators activated a total of 580,082 new lines in June, which brought the country’s active mobile subscriptions to 187.2 million from 186.6 million recorded in May this year. By July, the database mobile subscriptions across the four GSM networks rose by 195,313. However, the July data as released by NCC showed that only one of the four operators gained new subscriptions in the month. Globacom recorded 1.07 million new subscriptions in the month, which brought its database to 51.1 million from 50.1 million in June. With this, the telco overtook Airtel as the secondlargest operator by subscriber number. Losses recorded by MTN and Airtel reduced the impacts of the gain posted by Globacom on the country’s total active subscription figure for the month. Meanwhile, Internet subscriptions across the networks also recorded growth in August. The operators added 481,418 new subscriptions in the month under review. According to the NCC’s data, subscriptions for the internet across mobile, fixed wired and VoIP networks rose from 139.7 million in July to 140.2 million in August.




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