In a recent report released by the National Communication Commission (NCC), it has been revealed that Nigerian voice subscriber numbers have seen a significant decline of 2.4% over the past seven months. The report indicates that by the end of July, telecom service providers had witnessed a drop of approximately 6 million voice subscribers, reflecting the challenging economic conditions faced by the nation during this period.
At the beginning of the year, in January, there were a total of 226.2 million telephone subscribers in Nigeria. However, by July, this number had dwindled to 220 million, representing a notable decrease of 6 million subscribers. This decline underscores the economic hardships faced by Nigerians throughout the year.
A more detailed breakdown of the report reveals that at the close of 2022, there were 222.5 million subscribers. By January 2023, this number had increased by 3.6 million, reaching 226.2 million subscribers. February saw a slight increase to 227.1 million. However, in March, there was a drop to 226.2 million, with around 1.5 million Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards becoming inactive. This downward trend continued into April, with the number decreasing to 223.7 million, further dropping to 221 million in May, and eventually reaching 220 million in June.
This decline also negatively impacted the country’s teledensity, which fell from 118.5% in January to 115.7% in July. Teledensity measures the number of telephone connections per 100 people in a specific geographic area, often used to assess the level of access to voice and data communication services.
Breaking down the data further, it was revealed that MTN Nigeria experienced the most significant loss in voice subscribers, with a decrease of 6 million during the review period. Airtel also reported a decline, going from 60.5 million to 60 million subscribers, representing a loss of 500,000 active subscribers from January to July.
On a positive note, Globacom and 9mobile both saw growth in their telephony services during this period. Globacom attributed its growth to recharge bonuses and incentives, gaining 1 million users, while 9mobile increased its user base by 700,000 during the seven-month period.
In the July edition of Nigerian telecommunication subscription statistics, broadband penetration decreased from 48.21% in January to 47.01%. Approximately 2.2 million customers in this sub-sector did not utilize broadband services during the review period, with the number dropping from 92 million users in January to 89.7 million by the end of July.
In contrast, internet users on the narrowband (GSM) platform increased by 3 million, with operators witnessing a rise from 155 million users in January to 158 million by July.