Nigeria: Telecoms Operators End 2018 With 6.68 Percent Growth

23 January 2019

Despite dip in customer satisfaction occasioned by poor quality of service, telecommunications operators ended year 2018 on a good note.

Unlike the previous quarter, where the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile recorded a very slow growth, falling by -0.38 per cent, the fourth quarter showed an impressive performance, finishing the year with 6.68 per cent.

Relying on statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), The Guardian checks showed that Globacom had the best performance, finishing with 10.77 per cent as against 1.87 per cent in the Q3. Airtel was second with 6.94 per cent against 3.55 per cent in the previous quarter. MTN finished third with 4.63 per cent growth against -3.50 per cent three months back, while 9Mobile, which saw -2.89 per cent growth, finished 2018 better with 3.66 per cent growth.

Further analysis showed that in the sub-total (CDMA) segment, which had Visafone and moribund Multilinks, the former, which had been acquired by MTN, fell by -1.79 per cent.

In the sub-total (Fixed/Fixed Wireless) segment, 21st Century finished the year with 5.21 per cent; MTN's VGC had 0.31 per cent; IPNX fell by -8.72 per cent and Globacom fell by 41.80 per cent.

For the Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) segment, in which NCC listed Smile and Ntel, only the former had recorded data. Smile finished the year with 11.69 per cent growth.

Meanwhile, the quartet of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9Mobile added 25.5 million new subscribers in the course of the year, pushing mobile subscriptions from 147.3 million to 172.8 million.

Nigeria's broadband penetration rose from 30.9 per cent in November to 31.5 per cent as at year end. Broadband is wide bandwidth data transmission which transports multiple signals and traffic types. The medium can be coaxial cable, optical fiber, radio or twisted pair.

Further analysis of the statistics showed that MTN remained the largest operator in the country with 66.7 million subscribers and 39.7 per cent market share. Globacom is next with 25.6 per cent market share and 43.3 million subscribers.

India's Bharti Airtel, operating as Airtel in Nigeria is third with 43.1 million subscribers and 25.5 per cent market share, while embattled Emerging Market Telecommunications Service (EMTS) trading as 9Mobile finished the year with 9.10 per cent market penetration and serviced 15.4 million subscribers.

In terms of Internet penetration, the operators jointly added 11.6 million new subscribers in the course of the year, pushing online penetration to 111.6 million from 100 million as at the beginning of last year.

MTN had 43.8 million Internet users, followed by Airtel with 29 million; Globacom is third with 28 million and 9Mobile is fourth with 9.9 million subscribers.

In terms of the penetration of technology employed, the NCC statistics said the GSM technology had penetrated the telecoms market by 99.7 per cent, while the Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operator had 0.1 per cent; Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Fixed Wired/Wireless technology had 0.1 per cent each.

In terms of contributions of the sector to the economy, while the last quarter was yet to be upload, the telecoms sector contributed 9.19 per cent in quarter one of 2018; 10.43 per cent in second quarter and possibly due to economic challenges, finished quarter three with a short fall. The third quarter was 8.39 per cent.

Meanwhile, the management of Independent Newspaper Limited, publishers of Daily Independent, Saturday Independent and Sunday Independent, has adjudged Globacom, as Telecommunications Company of the Year 2018.

The yearly award event was instituted to "recognise and appreciate individuals and corporate organisations that have made meaningful impacts in their endeavour and enterprise."

In the citation for Globacom, the organisers of the award stated that the network merited the award because of its nationwide 4G LTE coverage and the company's innovative and hugely successful products. The products include "OGA SIM, which guarantees quality data services to the subscribers at very low rate, and GLO YAKATA, which offers subscribers 2,200 per cent bonus on every recharge".

Globacom won the award for the second year in succession, thus becoming the only telecommunications company to have won the award back to back. The integrated telecoms solutions provider won the same award in 2017.

Receiving the award on behalf of Globacom, Head, Enterprise Sales for the company, Eric Uwaoma, said that the recognition was a call to do more. He pledged that his firm was therefore going to give more in service to the people, assuring the audience that Globacom would continue to delight its subscribers with world-class telecommunications products.

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