NCC Reports Telecom Subscription Decline, Telcos Gain New Subscribers via Number Porting


NCC Reports Telecom Subscription Decline, Telcos Gain New Subscribers via Number Porting


The latest statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) reveal a slight decrease in telecom subscriptions across networks, from 224,713,710 in December 2023 to 219,304,281 in March 2024. This decline has been attributed to the weak purchasing power caused by the harsh economic conditions in Nigeria, which also hindered network expansion in the first quarter of the year.

However, telecom operators have still managed to gain new subscribers through mobile number porting during this period. MTN led in incoming porting, with a total subscriber base of 81,799,666 and a market share of 37.35% as of March 2024. Detailed NCC statistics showed fluctuations in telecom subscriptions, with a slight recovery in February before another drop in March.

Between October 2023 and March 2024, MTN gained new subscribers through porting, with notable increases in January (2,270), February (2,989), and March (1,296) of this year. Airtel also saw gains, with 541 new subscribers porting in January, 682 in February, and 343 in March. Similarly, Globacom and 9mobile experienced new subscriber gains through porting within the same period.

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A total of 3,217 subscribers ported to various networks in October last year, while 2,433 and 2,729 subscribers ported in November and December, respectively. In January, 3,154 subscribers ported, with the number increasing to 3,944 in February before dropping to 1,911 in March.

Gbenga Adebayo, Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), explained that the decline in telecom subscriptions was due to the weak purchasing power of subscribers amid the challenging Nigerian economy. Subscribers are struggling to maintain their lines, with many turning off mobile data to save costs. Adebayo predicted a further drop in subscriptions by the end of the second quarter due to ongoing economic challenges affecting subscribers’ purchasing power.

The economic strain has also impacted telecom operators, limiting their ability to invest in network expansion. Adebayo noted that operators are focusing on maintaining existing infrastructure critical for service provision rather than expanding their networks. Despite these challenges, he praised the NCC for addressing sector complaints, although he highlighted the need for more governmental support to tackle telecoms challenges effectively.

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