Nigerian telcos record 2.4% voice subscription decline in Q1 – NBS

By Ralph Tathagata

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed in its latest report that Nigeria’s telecom sector experienced a 2.4 per cent decline in active voice subscriptions in the first quarter of 2024.

Attributing the decline to the enforcement of the National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module linkage policy, the NBS report shows that the total number of active voice subscriptions decreased from 224,713,710 in Q4 2023 to 219,304,281 in Q1 2024, representing a loss of 5,409,429 active voice subscriptions.

It would be recalled that MTN Nigeria disclosed in its first-quarter 2024 financial report that it had barred 8.6 million lines, while Airtel Nigeria stated that about 5.7 million of its subscribers had yet to link their SIM cards to their NINs.

The report stated, “The total number of active voice subscribers in Q1 2024 was 219,304,281, down from 226,161,713 reported in Q1 2023, indicating a growth rate of -3.03 per cent.”

It added that Abia State experienced the largest year-on-year decline of 7.8 per cent, from 4,074,115 active subscriptions in Q1 2023 to 3,756,231 Q1 2024.

While Lagos State leads with 18.84 million subscribers, closely followed by Ogun State with 9.53 million, Kano State recorded 9.07 million internet users, and Oyo State came in fourth with 11,158,965 active subscriptions.

Retaining its position as the leading telecom operator in the country, MTN dominated the Nigerian telecom market with 81,799,666 active voice subscriptions.

It was followed closely by Airtel with 63,357,061 active subscriptions, while GLO came in third with 62,191,448 active voice subscriptions.

9mobile had 11,657,703 active voice subscriptions, and SMILE maintained 175,711 active voice subscriptions in Q1 2024.

The telecom regulator ordered mobile network operators, including MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, to implement a full network bar on all phone lines whose subscribers had not submitted their NINs by February 28, 2024. Additionally, lines with submitted but unverified NINs were also barred.

The deadline for barring lines with unverified NINs was March 29, 2024, for five or more lines linked to an unverified NIN, and April 15, 2024, for fewer than five lines linked to an unverified NIN.


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