According to the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), mobile subscriptions in Nigeria experienced a 1% decline, falling to 223.3 million in April.

This decrease can be primarily attributed to a significant subscription loss reported by MTN, one of the leading mobile network operators in the country. The NCC’s findings shed light on the evolving dynamics of Nigeria’s mobile telecommunications sector, highlighting the challenges faced by operators in maintaining subscriber numbers amidst a competitive landscape.

As of March, active subscriptions across the networks of MTN, Glo, Airtel, and 9mobile stood at 225.8 million, revealing that the operators lost about 2.5 million subscriptions in April.

The reduction in the telco’s active subscriptions is attributable to the abandonment of SIMs that have not been linked with the National Identification Number (NIN) as mandated by the government.

The April figure also came as the second consecutive month of loss for the mobile operators, having recorded a 0.4 percent decline in subscriptions for March.

With the decline in actively connected lines recorded by the operators, the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also slumped to 117.17 percent in April from 118.48 percent in March.

The NCC’s statistics show that MTN, which is the largest operator by subscriber number, pulled down the total industry database with a 2.8 million decline in its subscriptions.

This brought its total active subscriptions to 88.6 million from the 91.6 million it recorded in March 2023.

However, Glo recorded a 128,017 increase in subscriptions in the month. With this, the operator was able to maintain its position as the second-largest operator by subscriber number in April 2023. The new activations on the network brought Glo’s total subscriptions to 60.9 million from 60.7 million recorded in March this year.

Airtel also recorded a marginal increase of 3,285 in its subscriptions database for the month, which brought its total subscriptions to 60.33 million from 60.32 million in March.

9mobile recorded the highest gain in April as its database grew by 262,737. This brought its total active subscriptions from 13.1 million in March to 13.4 million in April.

The April record came as the second decline in over one year since the operators started recovering from the impact of the 2020 NIN-SIM policy, which led to a loss of over 20 million subscriptions across the platform.

Mobile subscriptions in the country had been growing steadily until the government introduced a policy that mandated every telecom subscriber to link their SIM with NIN starting from December 2020.

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