As Nigeria continues on its path towards mobile coverage, the country has recorded 770,889 new active mobile subscriptions in July 2023. This is according to a report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The numbers, recorded across the major networks in the country, including MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile, represent a notable increase of 0.35% from 219.7 million recorded in June. This upturn comes as a welcome change following four consecutive months of declining subscriptions.
As of June, the cumulative active subscriptions across these networks were registered at 219.7 million. However, in July, the numbers rose to 220.5 million, marking a significant addition of 770,889 new subscriptions to the country’s mobile database.
A closer examination of the data reveals that MTN played a pivotal role in driving this growth, as it acquired a substantial 678,008 new subscriptions during the same period.
With this surge in actively connected lines, Nigeria’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants within a given area, also experienced a slight increase, climbing from 115.30% in June to 115.70% in July. These statistics indicate a positive trend in the country’s mobile telecommunications sector, reflecting the ongoing demand for mobile services in Nigeria.
Referencing the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), it was also revealed that the calculation of tele-density, which measures active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants, is based on a population estimate of 190 million in Nigeria.
MTN is the biggest contributor to active mobile subscriptions for July- NCC
Taking a closer look at the performance of major mobile operators, MTN, the largest operator in terms of subscriber numbers, significantly contributed to the growth of the industry’s database, according to NCC. In the month of July, MTN gained 678,008 new subscriptions, increasing its total active subscriptions from 84.6 million, as recorded in June 2023, to 85.3 million.
9mobile also experienced growth in its subscriber base, gaining an additional 176,105 new subscriptions. This increase raised its total active connected lines from 13.5 million in June to 13.7 million.
Likewise, Globacom witnessed an uptick in its subscriptions, adding 23,565 new subscribers during the month. As a result, their total subscriptions climbed to 61.4 million.
However, in contrast to these gains, Airtel, the third-largest operator in terms of subscriber numbers, saw a decline in subscriptions during the same period. Airtel’s database contracted by 106,789, bringing their total subscriptions down to 60 million. This fluctuation in subscriber numbers among these major operators reflects the dynamic nature of Nigeria’s mobile telecommunications industry.
The recent marginal gain in mobile subscriptions during July has sparked speculation that mobile operators in Nigeria may have completed the disconnection of lines registered by subscribers under the age of 18. This disconnection initiative is believed to be the primary reason behind the consistent decline in subscriptions observed between March and June of this year.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had previously revised its guidelines, raising the age requirement for SIM card ownership from 16 to 18 years. Consequently, individuals under the age of 18 are prohibited from registering a SIM card.
Explaining the rationale behind this age adjustment, the NCC, in a statement issued in October 2021 when the regulation was first introduced, stated that it aimed to safeguard minors in the country. The Commission emphasized that this move aligns with the Nigerian constitution, which designates 18 as the age at which a Nigerian can enter into a contractual relationship.
Furthermore, the NCC clarified that acquiring a SIM card constitutes a contractual agreement between service providers and their subscribers. To engage in such contracts, subscribers are required to possess proper legal status, demonstrate maturity, and exhibit the rationality necessary to undertake specific responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities as stipulated by a contract. This adjustment reflects the NCC’s commitment to ensuring the responsible use of telecommunications services and the protection of young consumers in Nigeria.