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In spite of the contribution of ICT/telecommunications sector to Nigeria's GDP growth, the country's Broadband penetrations dropped to 42.93 per cent in January 2021, compared to 45.02 per cent in December 2020, with Telco losing over 4million voice subscriptions in one month.

According to the March 2021 industry statistics report by the telecoms regulator, Nigeria communications Commission, Broadband subscriptions dropped by 4.87% from 85,941,222 in December 2020, to 81,949,983 as at January 2021.

In addition, a total number of Internet subscribers dropped to 151,296,836 from 154,301,195 in the month under review. Giving a breakdown of active internet subscribers for each licensed network provider utilizing different technologies; the regulator said MTN Nigeria retained its position, having the highest internet subscribers in the country. However, the mobile operator in January lost 1,370,810 internet subscribers, now having a total of 63,988,496 internet subscribers compared to 65,359,306 in December 2020.

This was followed by Airtel, which lost 1,253,971 customers in the month under review, and now have a total of 40,033,762, while Indigenous mobile operators Globacom saw a growth trajectory of 110,888 subscribers, bringing the figure to 39,995,771. 9mobile still occupied the bottom of the ladder as it was unable to account for 239,995 of its internet subscribers, thereby closing at 6,880,093 in January 2021.

Speaking to BizTech Africa, Olushola Teniola, Nigeria’s National Coordinator, Alliance for Affordable Internet, said the impact of SIM policies will materially negate the momentum witnessed, however, this will not reverse the positive trend in Q1 2021 against a struggling overall economy.

“Should GDP grow along forecasted predictions; it is assumed that the ICT sector will be a significant contributor to that success, if continued supportive policies by Government are kept in place to incentivise the private sector to drive investments and activity on the back of a Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025, a National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030 and the most recently launched National Cybersecurity Policy and Strategy 202,” he said.

Mobile market shares by operators

MTN maintained its dominance of the mobile market shares by 39.54 per cent translating to 79,035,514 subscribers, Globacom overtook Airtel’s position to second spot with 27.32 per cent and a total of 54,594,502 subscribers, Airtel settled for 26.73 per cent with 53,425,229, while 9mobile got 6.41 percent with 12,808,582 subscribers.

Subscribers/ Teledensity Data

According to the report, Total active telephony subscribers had a shortfall of 4,308,077 subscribers to 200,213,994, from 204,522,071 in December 2020, while Teledensity also reduced to 104.89 per cent compared to 107.14 per cent of the previous month.  

Teledensity is defined as the number of active telephone connections per one hundred (100) inhabitants living within an area and is expressed as a percentage figure and is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million, up from 140 million.

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