By Oluwatobi Opusunju
Nigeria mobile market subscription is growing despite concerns over ARPU (average revenue per user) and sourcing of foreign exchange (FOREX) to service a sector that is heavily depended on foreign import and fears that the market is nearing saturation.
Active users of the services and products of Nigeria’s telecommunications networks increased by 458,986 in September, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has said to signal a somewhat significant growth in Africa’s largest market of nearly 140 million active subscribers. According to the regulator’s monthly subscriber/operator data, made available on its website recently, active telecommunications service customers increased from 139, 446,227 in August to 139,905,213 in September.
GSM network active users increased by 457,549 in September after 139,029,283 subscribers were recorded in August.
MTN Nigeria consolidated its market leadership. It had 50,307,169 users in September, showing an increase of 255,597 from the 50,051,572 it recorded in August. Globacom maintained its second position. Its active subscribers increased in September by 45,612 to reach 37,349,979 customers as against 37,304,367 in August. Airtel maintained the third position. It had 34,625,744 subscribers in the month under review, which showed an increase of 304,131 users from the 34,321,613 recorded in August.
Possibly owing to its recent crisis, 9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria) recorded a drop in customers by 145,791 in September, giving a customer base of 17,203940 as against 17,349,731 users in August. Though the loss is less 1% of its overall subscribers, it is indicative of consumers’ shrunk faith as 9mobile battles to regain market confidence.
The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators had 217,566 users in September, which was same as the situation in August, according to the NCC’s report. The reports notes that of the two surviving CDMA service providers, Visafone had 213,106 customers in the month under review, while Multi-Links had 4,460.
The regulator stated that the monthly subscriber/operator data showed that the Fixed Wireless network (landline) consumers remained at 26,865 in September.
It also revealed that the Fixed Wired network (landline) subscriber base decreased by 408, giving a total of 115,205 users in September, as against 115,613 recorded in August.
In the Fixed Wired arena, NCC noted that MTN Fixed moved from having 8,696 in August to 8,233 in September, thereby decreasing by 463 users, while Glo Fixed had 13,033 users in September, adding eight customers to the August record of 13,025. IpNX network moved from 2,567 subscriber base in August to 2,541 in September; hence, its customers decreased by 26, according to the commission. It said that 21st Century network had 91,398 customers in September, recording an increase of 73 users on its August record of 91,325.
The NCC report also showed that the two Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) networks had 58,745 active users in September as their customers increased by 1,845, from their August subscriber base of 56,900. It indicated that, of the VOIP networks, Smile Communication had 55,350 customers, giving an increase of 1,370 users to its August result of 53,980. It noted that Ntel had 3,395 subscribers in September – an increase of 475 users to the August record of 3,395.
The regulatory body said that Section 89 Subsection 3(c) of the Nigerian Communications Act, 2003, mandated it to monitor and report the state of the telecommunications industry.
“The commission is mandated to provide statistical analyses and identify industry trends with regard to services, tariffs, operators, technology, subscribers, issues of competition and dominance. This is with a view to identifying areas where regulatory intervention will be needed.
“The commission regularly conducts studies, surveys and produces reports ….Therefore, telecommunications operators are obligated, under the terms of the licenses, to provide NCC with such data on a regular basis for analytical review and publishing,” it said.
Additional source: NAN is News Agency of Nigeria