Active Subscriptions for Mobile Services in Nigeria Drop to 223.3 Million

Active subscriptions for mobile services in Nigeria declined by 1% to 223.3 million in April 2023. This was revealed in the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). 

As of March, active subscriptions across the networks of MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9mobile stood at 225.8 million. This showed that the operators lost about 2.5 million subscriptions in April. The April figure also came as the second consecutive month of loss for the mobile operators, having recorded a 0.4% decline in subscriptions for March. 

An analysis of the operators’ data showed that the decline in the subscription data was caused by a 2.8 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 117.17% in April from 118.48% in March. 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 2.8 million decline in its subscriptions. This brought its total active subscriptions to 88.6 million from the 91.6 million it recorded in March 2023. 

  • However, Glo recorded a 128,017 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 April 2023. The new activations on the network brought Glo’s total subscriptions to 60.9 million from 60.7 million recorded in March this year. 
  • Airtel also recorded a marginal increase of 3,285 in its subscriptions database for the month, which brought its total subscriptions to 60.33 million from 60.32 million in March.  
  • 9mobile recorded the highest gain in April as its database grew by 262,737. This brought its total active subscriptions from 13.1 million in March to 13.4 million in April. 

What you should know

The April record came as the second 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 NIN starting from 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 had seen the operators record steady growth in subscriptions. 

Don Pedro Aganbi

Don Pedro Aganbi is a Nigerian Journalist, broadcaster, Filmmaker, brand and Public Relations Specialist and 1st prize winner, TV category, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) & Africa Information Society Initiatives (AISI) Awards. He is also a recipient of the Global IT Champion Awards, courtesy of World Information Technology and Services Alliance (WITSA).

He is the Founder/Managing Partner, TechTV Network and convener of the hugely popular Titans of Tech Awards, Pan African Digital Initiative Summit & Expo and the TechTV Digital Agenda Forum.

Don Pedro Aganbi is the producer and host of the popular international award winning TV show, TechTV.

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