MTN Remains Largest Operator, Records Highest Internet Subscription

Despite the challenges arising from the sanctions it had suffered in the last few years, MTN Nigeria has remained the leading mobile network operator in the country as well as spearheading the leadership of data service in the sector.
Latest statistics obtained by TechnologyMirror from the National Bureau Statistics, (NBS) in its first quarter March ending report revealed that the South Africa company leads mobile subscriber base by 60 million followed by Globacom with 37 million while Airtel Nigeria and Etisalat Nigeria trial with 34 million and 19 million respectively.
The statistics showed that MTN Nigeria increased its subscriber base by 7. 86% while Globacom increased its by 5.87%.
Similarly, internet subscription, MTN Nigeria topped the chart with 30 million followed by Globacom with 27 million while Airtel Nigeria and Etisalat pulled along trail by 19 million and 13 million respectively.
According to the NBS, the total number of subscribers has increased rapidly over the past decade such that at the end of 2005 there were 19,519,154 subscribers, but by the end of 2016 there were 154,529,780, which is equivalent to an increase of 12,273,693 every year.
It however, observed that growth has been declining recently, possibly resulting from high market penetration leaving less room for large expansion.
The report said that the end of the first quarter there were 152,467,198 subscribers, which represents a quarterly decline of 1.33%, along with declines in the first half of 2016, which indicates that growth has become less consistent, after years of nearly uninterrupted growth.
On a yearly basis, however, the NBS said that there was still an increase of 2.5%; a larger increase than at the end of any quarter since March 2016, reflecting the increases seen throughout the second half of 2016, which it alluded to the inclusion of new providers.
The March 2017 report further showed that the total number of GSM subscribers was 151,999,197, which was 2,125,405 less than in December 2016, equivalent to a decrease of 1.38% adding that this was the first quarterly decline since the previous March.
It added that the quarterly growth rate has been declining since September 2016 when quarterly growth was 2.45% stressing that a “similar pattern was seen in the months leading to March 2016, which may indicate the emergence of a seasonal pattern, although this will become clearer as more data becomes available. Compared to the previous year there were 4,600,343 more subscribers, an increase of 3.12%.”
The NBS said: “Airtel was the only GSM provider to record an increase in the number of subscribers relative to the previous quarter, of 1.58%, which means this provider recorded the highest growth rate for the second consecutive quarter. Their number increased by 540,196 to reach 34,656,605 between December 2016 and March 2017. This was nevertheless lower than the quarterly growth rate of 4.09% recorded in December 2016.”
Although the other three providers recorded decreases in their numbers over this period, the decrease recorded by Globacom was slight. With 37,328,827 subscribers, Globacom had 29,016 fewer subscribers in March 2017 than in December 2016, a decrease of only 0.08%. In percentage terms, Etisalat recorded the largest decline, for the third consecutive month, of 5.71% compared to 2.34% for MTN.
However, given that MTN has significantly more subscribers, with 60,391,959 in March 2017 compared to 19,621,806 for Etisalat, their monthly decrease was larger in absolute terms. MTN lost 1,448,502 subscribers relative to December 2016, compared to a loss of 1,188,083 for Etisalat. Year on year the trends were notably different. Etisalat was the only provider to record a decrease in subscriber numbers relative to March 2016, of 2,255,736, or 10.31%.
Isaiah Erhiawarien


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