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Nigeria may hit 200 million active phone lines this month

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Barring unforeseen circumstances, Nigeria might hit 200 million active telephone lines by September ending. The July edition of subscription statistics released yesterday by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that the most populated black nation was 692, 204 short of the 200 million mark.

As at July 31,2020, the record indicated that active subscription increased by 3.07 million, rising from 196.2 million in June to 199.3 million in the month under review.

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The teledensity also leaped by 1.6 percent, moving from 102.8 percent in June to 104.4 percent in July. Teledensity is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area. It varies across nations and between urban and rural areas within a country.  It must be stated however, that the multi-simming nature of Nigeria is currently fuelling rise in mobile lines’ activation, as an average Nigerian has three to four lines to bridge the poor quality of service.
   
Further analysis of the data revealed that Internet subscription also recorded 3,503, 100 new users. It moved from 143.2 million in June to 146.7 million in July. MTN pulled the largest subscribers, adding 1.69 million new lines from 60 million to 62.3 million within the period.
  
Airtel came second. It added 1.49 million, moving from 37.5 million to 39 million in July. Glo got 285, 011 subscribers, inching from 37.9 million to 38.3 million. EMTS, operating as 9Mobile, hosted 43, 266 new users, rising to 7.13 million from 7.09 million.

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The information illustrated that broadband penetration is 42 per cent, with some 80.2 million Nigerians benefiting.In terms of market share, the COVID-19 pandemic created a huge opportunity for telecommunications operators, as more citizens trooped online, thus increasing voice and data services.
   
This translated to more market share for the players, especially the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile. MTN’s increased to 40.4 percent with 80.3 million subscribers.

In the month under review, Airtel displaced Globacom, and subsequently became the second largest operator in Nigeria.The Sunil Bharti Mittal-owned Airtel has 26.99 percent market share, servicing some 53.7 million users.

Globacom, which clocked 17 years on August 29, had as at July 31, 52.7 million subscribers with a market penetration of 26.5 per cent. 9Mobile is still fourth with 12.2 million subscribers and 6.11 percent market share.
    
The Guardian can report that all these developments culminated in the sector’s second quarter contribution of N2.3 trillion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  

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Commenting on the development, chairman of Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, thanked the relevant stakeholders for their resilience and sense of purpose.
    
Adebayo hinged the growth on so many factors, including the investor-friendly policy and regulatory environment championed by the leadership of NCC, commitment of stakeholders, consistent investment on network maintenance and expansion, and sacrifice by operators.
   
To sustain this growth, he said Nigeria should continue to invest in network expansion and maintenance, as well as improve access to foreign exchange to procure critical equipment and consistency in policies.

Adebayo urged better access to spectrum and friendly policies around its allocation, assignment and cooperation among stakeholders.

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