Nigeria’s telcos lost 14m internet subscribers in one year

Nigeria’s telcos lost 14m internet subscribers in one year

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) says the country’s internet subscribers dropped by 9.6 percent. representing 14.5 million in one year.

The commission said this in a recent update of industry statistics posted on its website.

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According to the data, the total number of active internet subscribers, which hit 154.88 million — an all-time high — in November 2020, dropped to 140.34 million at the end of October 2021.

In December 2020, the federal government directed telecommunications companies to suspend the sales and reactivation of new SIM cards.

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The policy denied new entrants into the country access to purchase mobile lines while existing users who want to retrieve their lost lines were not allowed access.

The government had premised the decision on the audit of the subscriber registration database in the country at the height of security challenges – banditry and kidnapping.

By the end of the first quarter of 2021, the policy had stifled the telecoms industry with single-digit growth.

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Airtel Africa and MTN Nigeria, the two listed telcos, had said the regulatory restrictions impacted their operations with declines in mobile subscriptions and revenue.

The government, however, lifted the ban in April but mandated the use of national identification numbers (NINs) for the issuance of new SIM cards.

Internet subscribers of Airtel Nigeria dropped from 41.52 million in November last year to 36.89 million in October 2021 — shedding 4.6 million subscribers.

Globacom’s internet subscribers declined from 39,91 million to 38.97 million, while 9mobile dropped from 5.90 million to 5,80 million in the same period under review.

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