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‘South Western states control 30.3% of Nigeria’s voice subscriptions’


A woman on a telephone call. Photo/Pixabay

Out of the total mobile subscriptions connected for voice services in Nigeria as at the end of 2018, states in the south west region including Ekiti, Lagos, Ogun, Ondo, Osun and Oyo had 51.7 million subscribers, amounting to 30.3 per cent.

Statistics from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) put Nigeria’s active voice subscriptions as at the end 2018 at 172.8 million.

However, statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission in January 2019 showed that active GSM users climbed to 174 million, which resulted into 124 per cent teledensity.


The Guardian checks showed that North Central states, including Abuja, Kogi, Kwara, Nassarawa, Niger, Benue and Plateau, which all have 32.1 million subscribers, controlled 18.9 per cent of the subscriptions.

The North Central is followed by the North West region states including Jigawa, Kaduna, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto and Zamfara with 16.8 per cent, which amounted to 28.7 million subscriptions.

Nigeria’s oil rich region, the South South, which has states including Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, Bayelsa Rivers, Delta and Edo with 24.7 million subscribers, controlled 14.5 per cent.

The six states are followed by South East states including Abia, Anambra, Ebonyi, Enugu and Imo with 16.9 million subscribers, which was about 9.9 per cent.

States including Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba, Yobe, which are from the North Eastern part of the country have 16.3 million subscribers, which is 9.6 per cent of the country’s subscriptions.

Further analysis by The Guardian showed that in the North Central region, Globacom had the highest active voice subscribers for last quarter of 2018 with 11.3 million subscriptions. It is followed by MTN with 10.7 million; Airtel had 6.9 million, while 9Mobile closed the quarter with two million subscribers.


In the North East, MTN was dominant. For the quarter, the South African owned telecommunications firm finished with 6.97 million users; Airtel was second with 5.72 million; Globacom 2.70 million and 9Mobile 915,959 subscribers.

For the North West region, MTN ended Q4 2018 with 12.9 million subscribers. Airtel was second with 7.3 million users; Globacom had 5.6 million, while 9Mobile closed with 2.9 million users.

In the South West region including Lagos, MTN ended last quarter with 16.9 million users, Globacom was second with 13.2 million users, Airtel was third with 12.4 million and 9Mobile with 5.24 million users.

For the South East region, MTN network dominated the states, with 8.1 million subscribers; Airtel was next 3.9 million users, Globacom was third with 3.23 million customers and 9Mobile had 305,355 users.

MTN was the most preferred network in the South South region with 9.58 million active customers. Globacom was second with 6.92 million users; Airtel had 6.42 million users, while 9Mobile controlled 1.8 million active subscribers.

The NBS statistics further revealed that as at the period under review, operators—the quartet of MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9Mobile lost 8,291 in porting activities.

Specifically, MTN gained 1,251 customers, Globacom 665, Airtel 978 users, while 5,397 new customers came to 9Mobile’s network.

In terms of loss, 1,642 customers ported out of MTN in Q4 of 2018. Globacom lost 2,146, Airtel 3,106 and 9Mobile 1,191, making a total of 8,085 subscribers left their various networks.

Commenting on the slow porting activities in the country, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Olusola Teniola, said many subscribers had discovered that the tariff and quality of service on one network was not completely different from the other.

“The issue is that a lot of users are finding that one network’s qualities of service differentials are not different from another network’s quality of service. The pricing differentials are also not very different. They either stay or get another number. It is no longer about me taking one number from one network to another, I keep that number and purchase a new number from another network and try it out,” Teniola added.

Also, a telecoms expert, Kehinde Aluko, stressed that the multi-simming nature of Nigeria really worked against the success of number porting.

He said, “Virtually everybody in the country uses two or three SIMs to make calls, to browse. It is the same service across the networks, no good service before. Etisalat, which forcefully metamorphosed into 9Mobile used to be the toast of many Nigerians, but since the pull out of the UAE arm, subscribers are no more enjoying that beautiful service they are known to offer.”

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