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Mobile subscribers rise for the first time since NCC’s sim ban, hitting 187.2m

Mobile subscribers rise for the first time since NCC’s sim ban, hitting 187.2m


The number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria is finally rising after more than eight months of consecutive drops.

According to the recently-released stats by Nigerian Communications Communications (NCC), telcos in the country added a total of 580 thousand subscribers in June.

This represents a minute growth of 0.3% from the 186.69 million recorded last month but is a welcome development as it marks the first rise since the NCC’s sim registration ban in December last year.

Symbolically, it also marks the first rise since the ban was lifted in April. This shows that most telcos are already meeting the governments’ new criteria and are now readily onboarding users.

Telco subscribers rise for the first time after NCC's sim ban, pushing total mobile subscribers to 187.2m in June

MTN is still losing numbers

The growth seen across all telco brought the total number of mobile subscribers in the country to 187.2 million for the month of June.

Of all the telcos only MTN remained in the red zone, losing 473,000 subscribers during the month. However, the telco remains Nigeria biggest mobile network with a total of 73.57 million subscribers.

Airtel added over 638,000 subscribers, the highest number of subscribers by any telco during the month. It now has a total of 50.66 million subscribers, making it the second-largest telco in the country.

Globacom follows closely, adding over 349,000 subscribers to close a total of 50.13 million subscribers. 9mobile remains the smallest telco in the country, adding 63,000 subscribers to bring its total to 12.9 million in June.

Internet subscribers fall below 140 million

Despite the growth in mobile subscribers, internet subscribers fell during the month of June. The report shows that total internet subscribers in the country fell by 317,215 thousand to reach 139.81 million.

Nigeria’s internet subscribers fall below 140 million for the first time since April 2020

The drop was driven by the huge fall in MTN subscribers. The telecom giant lost over 600,000 subscribers to hit a total of 59.59 million internet subscribers for the month.

According to the company, the drop was caused by the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activation.

Globacom, on the other hand, surmounted the new restriction to add over 283,000 new internet subscribers in June. The telco now has the second-largest internet subscribers with 37.87 million.

Airtel follows closely, adding 115, 462 subscribers to bring the total to 36.23 million subscribers during the month.

Similar to MTN, 9mobile continued the downtrend of losses, shedding over 108,000 subscribers to have just 6.1 million internet subscribers at the end of June.

Telco subscribers rise for the first time after NCC's sim ban, pushing total mobile subscribers to 187.2m in June

Porting data is back

The porting data for telcos is finally back for the first time since the NCC ban. The report shows that there was a total of just 616 port-in in June.

This represents a slow return to porting activities. In comparison, there were over 10,000 reported port-ins before the pandemic.

For the month of June, Airtel has the highest number of port-in with 360. 9mobile followed with 191 while MTN had just 65 new users via porting. Globacom didn’t report any port-in for the month.

For porting out, 9mobile was the biggest loser. It lost a total of 323 users during the month of June. Globacom followed closely with a total of 172 users lost.

MTN and Airtel take the rear guard, losing 106 and 101 users respectively. In total over 700 port outs was reported during the month.

Telco subscribers rise for the first time after NCC's sim ban, pushing total mobile subscribers to 187.2m in June

Broadband penetration rises by 0.38%

Broadband penetration in the country didn’t escape the effects that caused the sim ban. However, like the mobile subscriber numbers, broadband penetration has also begun to rise.

The percentage penetration rose 0.38% to 39.97 % in June after losing 6.34% since October 2020.

This is the first time broadband penetration has risen since October 2020.

The number of 3G and 4G subscribers also rose to 76.28 million from 75.56 million in the previous month.

Telco subscribers rise for the first time after NCC's sim ban, pushing total mobile subscribers to 187.2m in June

In summary

The rise in telecom subscribers shows that the industry is finally seeing a positive recovery from the restrictions of the SIM ban.

Although the ban was lifted in April, new requirements and several underlying conditions made recovery slower. However, with the latest growth report, it appears the worst is finally over.


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