Telecoms operators end Q2 with 9.04% growth
Quarter two, which ended in June showed that the Mobile Networks Operators (MNOs) combined saw a 6.12 per cent growth rate from 2.92 per cent in the first quarter of the year to 9.04 per cent in Q2.
Latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), quarterly review showed that MTN recorded 2.93 per cent growth, Globacom 2.73 per cent and Airtel 2.40 per cent. However, 9Mobile for obvious reasons had a contracted growth falling by 3.11 per cent.
Further analysis showed that MTN had a 4.32 per cent growth in the previous quarter, Globacom had 2.29 per cent, Airtel had 4.65 per cent, with 9Mobile sustaining at a negative 3.76 per cent.
The Q2, which ended in June, showed that MTN had 66.4 million subscribers from 54.5 million as at March.
Globacom grew from 39 million to 40.1 million subscribers; Airtel increased from 38.6 million subscribers to 39.9 million.
However, the NCC statistics showed that 9Mobile fell from 16.3 million subscribers in March to 15.8 million by June.
Largely between March and June, the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile added 13.5 million new subscribers, moving from 148.8 million to 162.3 million.
Apart from the freebies including Data ‘awoofs’ that operators are luring subscribers with, market watchers claimed that more connections would come based on some certain happenings in the Nigerian market, including access to smartphones.
The Group Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Rob Shuter, in Durban, South Africa on Monday said as at the beginning of the year, while the company had 220 million global subscribers with 55 million coming from Nigeria.
Shuter, who said the firm was doing everything possible to improve connectivity in Nigeria, said 70 million people are not Internet connected on its network globally, 15 million of which are in Nigeria.
According to him, while the figure is still high in Nigeria was because of the prevalent of 3G services, saying: ‘’most people are still under 3G.
I mean most handsets in the Nigerian market are in 3G frame, but to get connected faster, we must upscale to 4G.
But we are doing everything possible to scale them up to 4G.
In all of these, we shall seriously need collaboration from government, other players and the people.”
For more robust telecoms ecosystem, experts said though the mobile network ecosystem is improving, owing to the efforts of the NCC, which ensured that users have access to “lite” mobile applications, which require less data.
According to them, customers in the country have lower incomes and many of the mobile data packages offered are cost prohibitive.
For example, Nigerian smartphone users tend to use Opera mini, a lite version of the Opera mobile browser, more often than they use Google Chrome, which is the most popular mobile browser globally.
The availability of data-saving mobile services makes mobile usage more alluring to consumers.
According to the GSMA, the global mobile subscriber base is expected to increase by nearly one billion more users in the next few years, having surpassed the five billion connected people in 2017.
However, despite significant mobile internet penetration growth in recent years, nearly 2 billion of the 5 billion mobile subscribers in the world do not benefit from connectivity (2017), i.e. they are unable to enjoy the social and economic opportunities of the internet.
On this, Shutter said great efforts are therefore needed to heed the call of organizations such as the ITU; to bridge the digital divide and foster a digital inclusive world.
“We cannot tackle the challenge of bridging the digital divide without addressing barriers around coverage, affordability and access of handsets and services, and education of our users.
This endeavor is too complex to be addressed solely by governments or just the operators or society.
This needs to be a shared goal. We must all work together for connectivity,” he stressed.