The Nation (Nigeria)

Mobile subscriber figures on steady decline

- By Lucas Ajanaku

THE bullish run in the subscripti­on rate in Nigeria’s GSM sector may have ended as the industry has been faced with consistent drop in subscriber figures.

Last December, active lines of the network stood at 204,228,678. By January, it was down to 199,863, 822, losing a total of 4,364,856. By February, total active lines dropped to 195,734,667, indicating a loss of 4,129,155. It dipped further in March to 192,081,282 showing a decline by 3,653,082 and in April, active lines were 188,375,282 showing that some 3,706,000 had been consumed. In May, the figures sank lower to 186,695,465, thereby losing 1,679,817.

Same fluctuatio­ns took place in fixed/wireless and VOIP segment of the industry.

Total summation of the figures showed that it was 204, 601,313 in December, 200,213,994 in January; 196,078,494 in February; 192,413,613 in March; 188,705,734 in April; and 187,026, 517 in May.

During the period under review, GSM connected lines were 300,042,650 in December last year, it shrank to 299,252,182 in January this year, then to 298,872, 860 in February and 297,536,702 in March. In April, it dipped to 295,765,970 while in May, it went down to 295,355,092.

The total, including fixed/wireless lines in December, was 301,327,711. In January it reduced to 300,537,726; reduced to 300,159,613 in February and 298,823,195 in March.

In April, the figure went down to 297,052,074 while in May, it sank further to 296,646,228.

Also during the period under review, telephone density or teledensit­y also fluctuated with the sinking figures.

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 gross domestic product (GDP) of the area, according to Wikipedia.

Last December, the teledensit­y was 107.18, 104.89 in January; 102.71 in February; 100.80 in March; 98.86 in April and 97.98 in May.

The Minister of Communicat­ions and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami, on December 9, last year, had directed Mobile Network Operators (MNOS) to suspend the sale, registrati­on and activation of new subscriber identity module (SIM) cards.

He said it was in line with the Federal Government’s desire to consolidat­e on the achievemen­t of the SIM Card registrati­on of

September, 2019, adding that sus- pension would subsist until the audit was concluded, and government had conveyed the new direction.

Pantami had directed the Nigerian Communicat­ions Commission (NCC) to embark on another audit of the Subscriber Registrati­on Database.

“The objective of the audit exercise is to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators with the set quality standards and requiremen­ts of

SIM Card Registrati­on as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communicat­ions and Digital Economy and the Commission.

“However, where it is absolutely necessary, exemption may be granted in writing by the Commission following approval from the Federal Government.

“MNOS are to please note that non-compliance with this directive will be met with strict sanctions, including the possibilit­y of withdrawal of operating licence,” the minister had said.

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