12 February 2013

Nigeria's Active Phone Subscriber Lines Hit 113 Million

Nigeria's active telephone subscriber lines reached 113.1 million as at December 31, 2012 up from 110.3 million in November and 109.4 million in October with Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) operators dominating the market in the latest statistics released by the telecommunications regulator on its website yesterday.

GSM operators had 109,829,223 subscriber lines; Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators had 2,948,562 active subscriber lines while at the rear was fixed wired/wireless networks with 418,166 active subscriber lines. Teledensity, the number of phone connections for every hundred persons within the population, reached 80.85 as at December 31, up from 78.82 in November 2012.

Overall connected lines as at the end of the year stood at 151,714,650 while installed capacity for the entire telecom sector was 211,808,092. The massive growth in the telecom market has continued to astound the world as it has remained bullish since overtaking South Africa in 2008 as the top telecom market on the continent. Nigerian operators led by MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat have led the growth with CDMA operators such as Visafone, Starcomms and Multi-Links contributing marginally.

Although the regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) did not release figures of individual operator's contributions, it is expected that MTN Nigeria will retain its market share of about 48 per cent and increase its subscriber base to 48 million. Etisalat, the late entrant into the GSM business still has 15 million subscribers and about 13 per cent market share.

With plans by the telecom regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to introduce a template for mobile termination rates (MTRs), the market may be buoyed more especially with the new MTRs for short message service (SMS) which kicked off on February 5, 2013 gingering data traffic on the network. NCC also plans to introduce mobile number portability (MNP) before the end of the first quarter this year, which will increase competition among the operators.

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