Telecom firms lost 14.3 million subscribers in one year — Report

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Telecom firms lost 14.3 million subscribers in one year — Report

Telecommunication companies in Nigeria have lost about 14,348,738 subscribers between September 2020 and September 2021, an analysis of data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission portal has revealed.

According to industry statistics on the NCC portal, in September 2020, telecommunication companies had 204,869,652 subscribers as of September 2020. However, by September 2021, the telcos subscriber base had dropped to 190,520,914. The 14,348,738 reduction in the subscriber base means the telcos lost seven per cent of their subscribers in one year.

According to the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, the industry Average Revenue Per User for 2020 was N1,420. Using this as a baseline, telcos may have lost about N20.36bn in revenue in the period under review.

Among the telcos, MTN lost 9,068,156 subscribers; Globacom lost 1,319,560; Airtel lost 4,215,233. However, 9mobile gained subscribers (254,211), making the only operator that did not lose subscriber in the period under review.

During the period, about 11,140,734 data subscribers were lost by the telecom firm while the national broadband penetration dropped from 45.43 per cent to 40.01 per cent.

In December 2020, the Federal Government moved to enforce the linkage of National Identity Numbers to Subscriber Identity Module in an effort to boost national security. The government subsequently banned the sale of SIMs and set a deadline for subscribers to link their SIMs to NINs.

Since then, the deadline has been moved seven times, with the latest extension for NIN-SIM linkage being December 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, the total number of subscribers peaked in October 2020 at 207,578,237, but later dropped to 204,149,436 when the first deadline for the SIM-NIN linkage was announced.

In an earlier report by The PUNCH, the Nigeria National Coordinator for the Alliance for Affordable Internet, Olusola Teniola, had said, “The impact of the SIM-NIN policy will slow down growth. The NIN requirement will slow down the ability to register SIMs legally, which will affect contribution to NIN, because not every Nigerian has NIN.”

A source in Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria recently disclosed that Telcos were losing subscribers because of the NIN-SIM linkage exercise.

The NCC has since said that once the latest SIM-NIN linkage deadline expires, Nigerians may be denied access to necessary services including acquisition of driving licence, passport, without NIN.

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