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Inability to recharge phones forces networks to lose 1.7m subscribers in March

Industry analysts have traced the dropping trend in the number of telecoms subscribers to deep holes drilled by recession in the pockets of many Nigerian GSM subscribers in the last seven months of the regime.

Latest data released by the telecommunications industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) showed that telecommunication operators lost 1,653,286 subscribers in March.

The report said the active telecommunications service customers, which were 154,120,484 in February, declined to 152,467,198 in March, 2017.

According to the data, 151,999,197 of the 152,467,198 active numbers subscribed to the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) network services.

The GSM operators’ active customers decreased by 1,662,350 on the 153,661,547 subscribers recorded in February.

The loss according to market shares showed that MTN had 60,391,959 users in March, a decrease of 998,738 from the 61,390,697 recorded in February.

Also, Globacom’s figure increased in March by 78,372, giving a total of 37,328,827 customers, as against 37,250,455 in February.

For Airtel, it had 34,656,605 subscribers in the month under review, which showed a decline of 175,576 users, from the 34,832,181 recorded in February.

Etisalat also recorded a drop in customers by 566,408 in March, giving a customer base of 19,621,806, as against 20,188,214 users in February.

The drop in subscribers seemed not to have affected the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) market segment as the 217,566 users it had in March, is the same with the result of February.

However, between the two surviving CDMA service providers, Visafone had 213,106 customers, while Multi-Links had 4,460 in the month under review.

The released data also indicated that the Fixed Wireless network (landline) consumers remained at 26,865 in March.

Also, between the two Fixed Wireless, Visafone had 26,437 subscribers, as Multi-Links maintained its record of 428 customers.

However, the Fixed Wired operators (landline) subscriber base increased by 1,000, giving a total of 125,635 users in March, as against 124,635 recorded in February.

More on the Fixed Wired arena, MTN Fixed moved from having 8,564 in February to 9,532 in March, thereby increasing by 968 users, while Glo Fixed had 12,747 users in March, adding just five customers to the February record of 12,742.

IpNX network moved from 2,477 subscriber base in February to 2,589 in March, increasing its customers by 112.

NCC also disclosed that 21st Century network had 100,745 customers in March, recording an increase of five users on its February record of 100,740.

Besides, the two Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) networks had 97,935 active users in March, as their customers increased by 12,064 from their February subscriber base of 89,871.

Of the VOIP networks, Smile Communication had 39,345 customers, giving an increase of 3,060 users to its February result of 36,285.

Ntel had 58,590 consumers subscribing to its products and services in the month of March, showing an increase of 5,004 users to the February record of 53,586.

Explaining why the market data will continue to be made public, NCC said it took its powers from the provisions of Section 89 Subsection 3(c) of the Nigerian Communications Act 2003 which mandated it to monitor and report the state of the telecommunications industry.

According to NCC, “The commission is mandated to provide statistical analyses and identify industry trends with regard to services, tariffs, operators, technology, subscribers, issues of competition and dominance”.

“This is with a view to identifying areas where regulatory intervention will be needed.

“The commission regularly conducts studies, surveys and produces reports on the telecommunications industry.

“Therefore, telecommunications operators are obligated, under the terms of the licenses to provide NCC with such data on a regular basis for analytical review and publishing,” it said.

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