Nigeria’s active voice subscriptions down by 14m as economy bites

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By Oluwatobi Opusunju

Nigeria’s active phone voice subscription went down by 14 million in one year to underscore the harsh economic climate and lost in spending power.  A new quarterly report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed network operators lost about 14 million active voice subscriptions in the last one year from 2016 Q3 to 2017 Q3 while active internet subscriptions declined by 0.55% from Q2 2017.

In Nigeria’s phone culture, many subscribers own multiple phone numbers as a way to beat round the frequent glitches among operators. Rising cost of living with a weaker naira has meant that subscribers have had to cut down on budget for phone talk and internet access.

According to the report titled ‘Telecoms Data: Active Voice and Internet per State, Porting and Tariff Information for the Third Quarter of 2017’, Nigeria recorded a total of 139,907,213 in 2017 Q3 from 153,295,152 recorded in 2016 Q3 showing a decrease of 8.73%.

The total figure recorded in the 2017 Q3 also indicates a 2.21% decline from the second quarter of 2017.

Although, there was a decline of 0.55 per cent from 2017 Q2 to Q3 of same here, the report shows that total active internet subscriptions increased by 1.22 per cent from 2016 Q3 before the decline.

According to the report, both voice and internet communication subscriptions in third quarter, 2017 were dominated by GSM.

The report stated that the four largest voice communication providers in the third quarter were: Airtel Nigeria, 9mobile, Globacom Limited and MTN Nigeria Communications.

According to the report, the four major service providers’ contributions was led by MTN with 36 per cent of the total GSM subscription, followed by Glo 27.70 per cent, Airtel 24.75 per cent and 9mobile 12.30 per cent. Among the top four, Airtel Nigeria , 9mobile and MTN Nigeria Communications only specialized in GSM, while Globacom Limited also hold 0.01% of the total active voice subscriptions in the form of Fixed/Fixed Wireless Telecommunication.

Also in the quarter under review, MTN gained the highest share of all GSM active internet subscribers, capturing 35% of subscriptions (32,556,629), closely followed by Glo at 29% of subscription (26,942,871), Airtel at 23.4% of subscriptions (21,765,524), and EMTS at 12.6% of subscriptions (11,710,259).

The report stated that the operational challenges experienced by EMTS (9mobile) contributed significantly to the recorded decline of total active GSM internet subscriptions in the period under review (6.7% percent compared to the previous quarter), while Airtel robustly gained subscribers both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year.

According to the report, the biggest contributors to the growth of total active GSM internet subscription is Airtel, growing 7.9% when compared to the previous quarter (Q2 2017), and 15.6% when compared to the same period last year (Q3 2016). This led to an increase of the company’s market share by 1.4 points from the previous quarter and by 3.2 points from the same period last year.

The report further stated that at the end of the 3rd quarter, Southern and Southwestern states recorded the highest active voice subscriptions in general with Lagos, Ogun and Oyo as the top three states recording together 26.10% of the total voice subscription of the country.

The report said that Lagos led in telecommunication usage with 20.39 million active voice subscriptions and 20.12 million GSM users by the end of the third quarter, totalling 14.58 per cent of the total nationwide subscriptions.

It stated that FCT, Kano and Kaduna established another cluster of heavy voice subscription, each of which reported more than six million active voice subscriptions in the quarter under review.

However, the report said that most states recorded negative growths in active voice subscriptions in the third quarter of 2017 on both year-to-year and quarter to quarter basis.

Although, FCT, Edo, Adamawa, Ondo, Lagos and Oyo were the only states which recorded positive year-on-year growths in active voice subscriptions in the quarter under review by 5.48%, 3.10%, 2.42%, 1.63% and 0.98% respectively.







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