Telecoms operators lose 10m subscribers in 2017

Nigeria’s $70 billion telecommunications industry ended year 2017 with 145 million active subscribers, after loosing 10 million customers within the period.
Subscriber statistics released yesterday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which confirmed this, also showed that the teledensity crashed, loosing seven per cent.

This is even as some 40 million populace, which reside in about 205 communities across Nigeria still lack access to basic telephony services.Analysis of the statistics showed that the industry started the year with 155 million subscriptions and 110 per cent teledensity, but within the 12 months period, so many subscribers dropped their telephone lines.

The quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile actually experienced fluctuated growth for the major part of the year.As at October last year, about 14.3 million subscribers were already outside the operators’ radar, which signified that they have dropped their SIM cards.Subscriptions picked up in November with the operators luring back about four million users to the network.

NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholders Management (ECSM), Sunday Dare, blamed the drop in mobile subscriptions in the country on the economic recession witnessed in the major part of the 2017, with little or no disposable income for the populace to use.The Guardian also gathered that the increase in the usage of Over-The-Top voice applications such as Whatsapp, Skype, Facebook Messenger, among others, also impacted negatively on the adoption of mobile services from the operators.

The NCC statistics showed that MTN still controlled the market and finished the year with 36. 2 per cent market share and 51.4million subscribers. It is followed by Globacom with 37 million subscribers and 26.4 per cent market share. Airtel now controlled 25. 3 per cent of the market with 35.9 million subscribers. 9mobile has 12.03 per cent market share with 17 million subscribers.

The embattled telecommunications firm lost about 4.5 million subscribers in the course of 2017, owing to the controversies that surrounded its protracted $1.2 billion syndicated loans from 13 banks.