Released statistics by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) shows further increase in the number of telecom subscribers. The stats show that active telecom subscribers in Nigeria surged to 203 million in the month of August.
According to the report by the Commission, the increase has put Nigeria’s teledensity at 106.62%. Teledensity is measured by the number of active telecom subscribers per 100 residents of an area.
The result was recorded through the combined line activation of Airtel, Globacom, MTN and 9mobile, though individually, they performed differently. The report indicated an increase of 4.2 million subscribers from the previous month which had a record of 198.9 million subscriptions.
A breakdown of the activities shows that MTN outperformed others to maintain its position as the leading telco in the country. The South African company activated a total of 2.7 million new lines to put its active subscribers at 83 million. Airtel came second with 1.06 million new subscriptions to put its total subscribers at 54.7 million.
On its part, Globacom activated 192,327 new lines to put its subscription-base at 52.9 million, while 9mobile welcomed 214,282 new subscribers, increasing its total to 12.3 million.
For internet subscription, the report shows internet users increased to 149.7 million total, including fixed wired and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) for the month under review. Compared to the data of the previous month, internet subscribers in Nigeria increased by 2.6 million in the reference month.
The report indicated that MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile maintained their positions in subscribers table of choice, but collectively accounted for 99.7 percent of all internet subscriptions in the country.
According to the regulator’s report, the increase in internet subscription was spurred by the telcos aggressive deployment of the 4G network, and COVID-19 pandemic which forced many Nigerians to go virtual.
However, VoIP covers 433,267 out of the 149.3 million internet subscribers. And for the internet subscriptions, MTN maintains its lead with 1.6 million increase, taking its total of internet subscribers to 63.8 million.
Airtel followed with addition of 738,462 new internet subscribers, which upped its customers-base to 39.7 million. Globacom added 231,341 new internet customers in the same period, bringing its total to 38.5 million. 9mobile stayed at the fourth place as it is in other aspects. The telco gained 32,621 internet subscriptions to move its customer-base to a total of 7.1 million subscribers.
The Commission noted that although voice calls have been leading the telcos revenue generation, internet subscriptions are gradually taking over. This is as a result of increased online activities as many businesses in the country adapt to the new normal.
Nigeria’s telecom industry has shown resilience when other sectors of the economy are taking the hit of the pandemic. The monthly increase in the number of internet and voice subscriptions indicates sustainable growth that will not be disrupted by the current health crisis.
But 9mobile is still lagging far behind others, failing to catch up in both internet and voice subscriptions. However, the recent appointment of Alan Sinfield as its CEO offers hope that the struggling telco can be revamped in the near future. But Sinfield whose wealth of experience speaks success, acknowledged having a mountain of challenge before him.
He said: “The Nigerian telecoms industry is characterized by strong competition, but it is also an industry that is important to people everywhere. I am delighted to join the 9mobile family and look forward to using my experience and unique value propositions to lead the company in the next exciting phase of its journey. The goal is to build on the existing strong foundation of the company to create value that will transform the Nigerian telecoms sector.”
Although there is little increase compared to preceding months, we can only wait and see if the numbers will continue to change for good for the troubled telecom operator in the coming months.