NCC: why subscribers, internet, teledensity are falling

By Kokumo Goodie, Lagos, Nigeria

Nigeria's telecoms sector regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has blamed the migration of subscribers from 3G to 4G for the falling numbers of active subscribers, internet penetration and teledensity.

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Commission, Prof. Umar Danbatta, who disclosed this, while fielding questions from reporters in Lagos, said subscribers are also taking advantage of the presence of over the table (OTT) services to save cash.

According to him, subscribers to use WhatsApp to make calls and send instant messages instead of paying through their nose to make voice calls and send text messages under a regime of high tariff.

He said instead of spending to make calls, subscribers pay for data bundle and move on with their lives, adding that the trend will continue.

Giving a report on the sector, he said the sector's contribution to the nation's gross domestic product (GDP) has moved to 9%, adding that since the liberalisation of the industry, it has added some N15 trillion to the economy.

He noted that since his assumption of office as the EVC about 18 months ago, the industry has been adding between N1.43tr and N1.45tr to the economy quarterly.

The NCC EVC admitted that the quality of service offered by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) has not been impressive, he however, said there was a major improvement in the first quarter.

According to him, the continued drop in service quality has really created a huge gap between consumers and the MNOs, and was the "reason for some drop in subscriptions."

He said the commission would review the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) set for the operators to meet, with a resolve that any of the MNOs that failed to meet up would be adequately sanctioned.

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