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Teledensity up by 8% as 11 million lines become active

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Ferdi Moolman

Although between March and April 2018, there appeared to be no new connected telephone lines in the country, however, about 11 million lines were re-activated within the period.

Latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) confirmed this.

It showed that in March, there were 242.6 million connected telephone lines in the country, it slightly came down to 242.53 million in April.

For emphasis, these connected lines cut across GSM, Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA), Fixed Wired/Wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP).

As expected, the GSM lines remained dominant, with 238.1 million connections in March and 238.03 million in April.

However, in terms of active lines, surprisingly, from 148.6 million in March, it rose to 160.1 million as at April ending. This simply implied that about 11.5 million lines that were inactive before have been resuscitated by their users.

This development actually led to increase in market shares and subscriptions to the services of the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile in the country.

For instance, MTN appeared the biggest gainer, as it subscribers grew from about 54 million in March to 65 million in April and from a market share of 36 per cent to 41 per cent.

9Mobile, which lost over four million subscribers to its debt challenge in the last few months, witnessed an increase from about 13 million subscribers in March to 16 million in April with 10 per cent market share.

Airtel is seriously slugging it out with Globacom for the position of the second biggest operator in the country.

NCC statistics showed that Globacom leads the Sunnil Bharti Mittal-owned telecommunications firm by just one per cent market share, as both operators have almost same number of subscribers.

Globacom currently services 39.5 million subscribers with 25 per cent market share, while Airtel has 39.2 million users with 24 per cent market share.

The Guardian checks also showed that there has been a major leap of about eight per cent in the country’s teledencity, from 106 per cent in March to 114 per cent in April.

Telephone density or teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area.

It varies widely across the nations and also between urban and rural areas within a country.

Telephone density has significant correlation with the per capita GDP of the area. It is also used as an indicator of the purchasing power of the middle class of the country or specific region.

On what could be responsible for the surge in active telephone lines, an official of one of the telecoms operators, who preferred anonymity, said “if you notice lately, operators have becoming with several freebies.

For instance you will hear something like if you recharge N100 you will get 10 times of your recharge and this is real.

Virtually all the operators are given out freebies, even free data. So, I think this has been a propelling force, among others.”

To the Chairman, Technical Committee, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Aremu Babajide, he noted that service providers are seriously working to ensure subscribers get the best.

Aremu, a Globacom official, noted that customers’ complaints have reduced as it relates to quality of service. He stressed that such complaints have drastically reduced.

He revealed that subscribers are in for the best this season, saying that lots of regulations on service delivery, including National Roaming and Active Infrastructure sharing policies would soon be introduced, “this will surely result in better service delivery from the operators.”

However, some subscribers have picked holes in Aremu’s claims that quality of telephone services have improved in the country.

Aminat Jolaosho, who claimed to use the services of the four GSM providers, lamented that “if it is not drop calls, they are either cheating you, lording a service you never subscribed to on you and removing your credits.

These challenges cut across all of them. None of them is innocent.”

For Nnamdi Akpan, a spare part merchant at Ladipo, Lagos, he threatened to sue the network provider for subscribing his line to value-added services without his consent, adding that reaching the customer care representatives to lodge the complaint had been difficult.

Akpan complained of increasing poor quality of service and airtime deductions for value added services not subscribed to.


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