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Telecoms operators connect 3.56m new subscribers to Internet

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Telecommunication mast

•Lose 72,782 voice customers
Fresh 3.5 million subscribers were connected to the Internet in the month of April by the service providers in the country.

Latest April statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), showed that from 115.9 million Internet users in March, the figure rose to 119.5 million within one month.

However, the operators, the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9Mobile lost 72,782 voice subscribers, as the figure dropped from 173.71 million in March to 173.64 million. This development led to a one per cent drop in the country’s teledensity. Nigeria’s teledensity dropped from 91 per cent in March to 90 per cent in April.

Further analysis of the statistics showed that MTN, which on May 16, listed 20.9 billion ordinary shares at N90 with a par value of N0.02 on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), garnered the largest new Internet subscribers for the period under review. The South African telecommunications got 3.47 million new subscribers. Globacom is second with 191,005 new Internet users; Airtel, which had indicated interest to also list its shares on the NSE, after its London listing later this month, got 94, 472 new subscribers. Unfortunately for 9Mobile, 201,050 of its subscribers left the network in the month under review to other networks.

Broadband users in the country also grew by 927,885 in April. It moved from 63.4 million to 64.3 million. The growth showed 0.48 per cent as it moved from 33.22 per cent to 33.70 per cent within a month.

Meanwhile, the NCC explained that it has re-aligned the computation of the country’s teledensity with the latest population figure of 190 million given by the National Population Commission (NPC), up from the 140 million population of 2006.

Following the re-alignment, which is also in line with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU)’s calculation of teledensity, the Commission, disclosed that based on that new development, telephone density in the country was reviewed from March to reflect the population figure of 190 million against active subscriber base of 173.7 million that subsequently put Nigeria’s teledensity at 91 per cent.

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

Hitherto, teledensity in Nigeria was calculated using the 140 million population official figure of 2006 against the prevailing monthly subscriber base.

According to the Commission, as at February, 2019, when the 140 million population figure was last used and benchmarked against the active subscriber base of 173.6 million, the country’s teledensity stood at 124.05 per cent. The teledensity figure stood at 124.29 per cent in January with active subscriber base of 174 million.

However, from March, the Commission began to use the rebased 190 million population of Nigeria, as projected by the NPC, against the subscriber base of 176.7 million to calculate teledensity.

Explaining further, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, said the clarification on teledensity calculation became necessary to avoid misinterpretation of the re-alignment to mean a reduction in teledensity.

“Rather, the teledensity actually did not reduce because in March, active mobile subscriber base actually increased. So, what has happened is a re-alignment of the teledensity calculation with the rebased population figure of 190 million against the prevailing monthly subscriber base, which is a more realistic figure for the country in light of the latest population figure,” Danbatta said.

The EVC explanied that, “this clarification is to accurately inform telecoms operators and telecoms investors, who must be provided with realistic and accurate figures needed for their day-to-day decision-making process. The clarification will also bring other stakeholders such as academia and industry researchers in tandem with the updated teledensity.”


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