Nigeria’s Mobile Subscriptions Experience Marginal Decline in August 2023

by Ikem Emmanuel

New data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reveals that the country’s active mobile subscriptions saw a slight decrease of 0.07%, with the total number dropping to 220.71 million in August 2023, down from 220.86 million in July 2023. While this may seem like a modest drop, it’s worth noting that it follows several months of fluctuation in mobile subscription figures.

Key Points:

1. Decline in Mobile Subscriptions: August saw a decrease of 145,026 mobile subscriptions in Nigeria. This follows a pattern of slight fluctuations in previous months, with a 0.5% decrease in June, a 1% decrease in May and April, and a 0.4% decrease in March.

2. Impact on MTN: The largest mobile operator in Nigeria, MTN, experienced a decline of 335,744 subscribers, bringing its total active subscriptions down to 85 million from 85.3 million in July 2023.

3. Other Operators: Globacom maintained its position as the second-largest operator by subscriber numbers, gaining 38,015 new subscribers in August. Airtel, the third-largest operator, added 85,139 new subscribers, while 9mobile added 36,543 new subscribers in the same month.


4. Teledensity Decline: The decline in active connected lines resulted in a slight drop in teledensity, a measure of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants. It decreased from 115.70% in July to 115.63% in August.

5. Broadband Penetration: The marginal decrease in mobile subscriptions also led to a decline in broadband penetration, falling to 45.57% in August from 47.01% in July.

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Positive Outlook: Despite these month-on-month declines, the report maintains a positive outlook for Nigeria’s telecom sector. It cites the shift towards more advanced technologies, an untapped internet market, an underserved rural population, and favorable demographics as indicators of untapped potential. The Nigerian telecoms market is expected to remain a major player in Africa’s mobile market.

While these fluctuations may seem concerning on the surface, the report suggests that the long-term prospects for the Nigerian telecom sector remain promising, with potential for further growth and development.

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