Nigerian phone lines top 158m

The number of phone connections in Nigeria has passed the 158 million mark, according to the latest figures released by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

This is in line with reports identifying Nigeria as one of the biggest and fastest-growing telecoms markets in Africa.

The figures have climbed steadily – from 146  million in April last year, to 158.256 million at the end of January.

The number of active mobile (GSM) subscribers is now 82.61million, mobile (CDMA) subscribers top 6.18  million and active fixed/fixed wireless users stand at 1.03 million, for a total of 89.84 million active lines.

According to the NCC’ s archives, 10 years ago, the number of mobile GSM lines stood at only 266 461, there were no mobile CDMA connections and the number of fixed wired/wireless connections was only 600 321.

Research and Markets said in a new report on Nigeria’ s telecoms, mobile and broadband markets that Africa’ s largest mobile market is one of the biggest and fastest growing telecom markets in Africa, attracting huge amounts of foreign investment, and yet, has a relatively low market penetration level of only around 55%.

However, the global economic crisis had slowed growth last year.

The report said much of the remaining addressable market is in the country’ s rural areas where network rollouts and operations are expensive.  

“ This, in combination with declining ARPU levels, is forcing the networks to streamline their operations and to develop new revenue streams from services such as third generation mobile broadband, mobile payments/banking, and others. At the same time the operators are rolling out national fibre backbone networks to support the ever increasing demand for bandwidth.”

It noted that Nigeria is also the most competitive fixed-line market in Africa, featuring a second national operator, (Globacom) and over 80 other companies licensed to provide fixed telephony services. The alternative carriers combined now provide over 95% of all fixed connections, the majority of which have been implemented using wireless technologies.

Research and Markets said this gives the network operators the opportunity to also enter the lucrative mobile market under a new unified licensing regime and has helped them to secure hundreds of millions of USD in investments from local and foreign investors.

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