Nigeria’s Best Network for Mobile Internet Product Partnership

Nigeria’s Best Network for Mobile Internet Product Partnership

In Nigeria, the four mobile network operators control more than 99% of the total mobile internet market. The less than 1% remaining portion is shared by Spectranet, Smile, Swift Networks, and nTel, reports Asoko Insight in a new report.

The mobile internet market is dominated by four Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) operating GSM networks: MTN Nigeria, Airtel Networks, Glo Mobile, and 9Mobile. Together, these MNOs account for over 99% of mobile internet subscriptions in the country. The remainder of the mobile internet market consists of a number of LTE focused operators such as Spectranet, Smile, Swift Networks, and NATCOM (nTel).

In Nigeria, this is the data we are used to: MTN Nigeria leads the competition with 54.5 million subscribers and others follow.

NCC Subscriber data
Quarterly Subscriber Operator Data (Source: NCC)

But from the report, there is something revealing: the number of smartphone users in these networks.

Of those subscribing to the four major operators, just 38 million are smartphone users, with MTN accounting for more than one third of the total. Airtel and Glo have almost equal number of subscribers falling into this segment.

Operators by Subscriber Smartphone Usage and Market Share (Q4 2017) (source: Asoko Insight)

From this plot, you can see that MTN has about 14.5 million smartphone users. For Glo and Airtel Nigeria, each has about 9.5 million with 9Mobile rounding up at about 4.5 million. Simply, if you want a solution which would be telco-driven and requires smartphone [mobile device] users, the best network to work with is MTN in Nigeria. It gives you more mileage and spread if there is any requirement of exclusivity where you cannot sign multiple telcos at the same time. (According to StatCounter, Nigeria is a mobile internet nation with more than 83% of internet traffic generated via mobile devices like smartphones or tablets; computers only account for 17 %.)

All Together

If you are launching an app or any product that requires smartphones, MTN Nigeria should be your #1 consideration if you hope to strike telco partnership. But where that partnership is not possible, make sure anything you have in the market works perfectly in MTN network. It has the largest mobile internet users and of course it leads the total subscriber base (voice and data combined).


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2 thoughts on “Nigeria’s Best Network for Mobile Internet Product Partnership

  1. Good insight but this doesn’t tell the complete story. While MTN has 40.1% of all SIMs (NCC data), their influence is actually more!! You see, Nigeria is the highest multi-sim country (OpenSignal – but guess what SIM card is the preferred for customers? MTN! So here is the data that isn’t public but all bank practitioners know – MTN controls 70 – 75% of first SIM for Nigerians. That is the percentage of MTN lines that is used by customers to receive their SMS alerts.

    1. I think you actually supported my thesis that MTN is the best for partnership – ” their influence is actually more!!” and ” MTN controls 70 – 75% of first SIM for Nigerians” – at least from your comments. I was waiting for something different when I saw “BUT”


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