By Emma Okonji
The Nigerian telecoms sector achieved steady teledensity growth in the last nine months to reach 114.66 per cent in April this year.
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed this in a report posted on its website.
According to the NCC, the growth was driven by the rise in telecoms subscribers number, which reached 160,524,590 across all networks as at April.
The country had experienced a slide in its teledensity between January and July 2017, before picking up in August 2017 and maintained a steady growth up till April 2018, where it reached its highest peak of 114.66 per cent.
Teledensity is the number of active telephone connections per one hundred inhabitants living within an area and is expressed as a percentage figure.
Precisely, the report showed that after a slide in teledensity between January and July 2017, from 110.8 per cent to 99.39 per cent respectively, it picked up again from 99.39 per cent in July 2017, to 99.60 per cent in August same year.
Furthermore, it increased to 99.93 per cent in September and 100.55 per cent in October.
It grew again to 101.66 per cent in November, 103.61 per cent in December same year, 105.21 per cent in January 2018, 106 per cent in February 2018, 106.64 per cent in March 2018, until it reached 114.66 per cent in April 2018, which was the highest ever since the inception of GSM network rollout in 2001.
According to the NCC’s figures, the over 160 million subscriber number was a clear indication of a steady growth of subscriber base across networks.
The report showed the market share of each operator, revealing that MTN still leads the Nigerian telecoms market with a total of 65.2 million active subscribers on its network, with a market share of 41 per cent.
It was closely followed by Globacom, with an active subscriber number of 39.5 million, and a market share of 25 per cent.
Airtel held on to the third position with total number of 39.2 million active subscribers on its network and a market share of 24 per cent. 9mobile, the fourth GSM company to roll out its services on October 23, 2008, which is also undergoing some transformational changes in terms of ownership and re-branding, has a total number of 16.1 million active subscribers on its network, with a market share 10 per cent.
ntel, the fifth GSM company to roll out its services in 2016, after acquiring NITEL and MTel, is still battling to find its feet in the telecoms sector. Since its rollout, the telecoms company has been faced with funding challenge that is threatening its speed of network rollout and its ability to compete with other GSM operators. For this reason, its data statistics have not been recorded by the NCC to show its level of performance.
Giving reason for the steady growth in teledensity and subscriber number in the last nine months, the Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, attributed it to better regulatory functions, availability of telecoms services, improved reliability of telecoms services and steady economic growth of the country.
According to him, “Regulation is not counter productive, there is availability of telecoms services that have improved over the past months and the economy is showing signs of good growth, which when combined together gave telecoms subscribers the confidence to patronise telecoms operators more than before.”