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Technology & Innovation of Friday, 19 May 2023


Active mobile subscriptions in Nigeria decline to 225.8 million in March 2023- NCC

Data war Data war

Mobile subscriptions in Nigeria declined to 225.8 million in March.
The decline was caused by MTN, as its active subscription database decreased by over 1 million in the month.

Glo, Airtel, and 9Mobile, however, recorded a marginal increase in their subscriptions in the month under review.
Subscriptions for mobile services in Nigeria declined by 0.4% to 225.8 million in March 2023. This was revealed in the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

As of February, active subscriptions across the networks of MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9mobile stood at 226.8 million. This showed that the operators lost about 1 million subscriptions in March.

An analysis of the operators’ data showed that the decline in the subscription data was caused by a 1.1 million subscription loss recorded by MTN. The reduction in the telco’s active subscriptions is attributable to the abandonment of SIMs that have not been linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) as mandated by the government.

Teledensity decline

With the decline in actively connected lines recorded by the operators, the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also slumped to 118.48% in March 2023 from 119.01% in February.

According to NCC, the teledensity is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million.

Operator’s performance

The NCC’s statistics show that MTN, which is the largest operator by subscriber number, pulled down the total industry database with a 1.1 million decline in its subscriptions. This brought its total active subscriptions to 91.6 million from the 92.7 million it recorded in February 2023.

However, Glo recorded a 44,850 increase in subscriptions in the month. With this, the operator was able to maintain its position as the second-largest operator by subscriber number in March 2023. The new activations on the network brought Glo’s total subscriptions to 60.79 million, up from 60.75 million recorded in February this year.

Airtel also gained 28,420 new subscriptions in the month, which brought its total subscriptions to 60.32 million from 60.30 million in February.

9Mobile recorded the highest gain in March as its database grew by 67,266. This brought its total active subscriptions from 13.07 million in February to 13.14 million in March.

The March record came as the first decline in over one year since the operators started recovering from the impact of the 2020 NIN-SIM policy, which led to a loss of over 20 million subscriptions across the platform.

Mobile subscriptions in the country had been growing steadily until the government introduced a policy that mandated every telecom subscriber to link their SIM with their NIN starting in December 2020. As of November 2020, subscriptions across the networks stood at 207.5 million.

However, it began to decline in December and plunged to 188.9 million in August 2021. However, the last 18 months have seen the operators record steady growth in subscriptions.