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Telecoms Contributes N134bn To Economy In Q1 2105

Number of mobile subscribers is now 143.05 million in a country of approximately 170 million population and teledensity of 103.91 per cent.

Isaiah Onwunaumba

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has announced its latest report that telecoms sector recorded a growth rate of 5.26 per cent in real terms in the opening quarter of this year with a contribution of N134bn to economic output, according to information posted on its webpage on Tuesday. NBS also added that the number of mobile subscribers is now 143.05 million in a country of approximately 170 million population.

According to Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in its April 2015 Industry Overview, Teledensity which is calculated based on a national population of 140 million of 2006 currently stands at 103.91 per cent. It improved from 83.8 per cent in March 2013 to 92 per cent in February 2014.

It also added that as regards internet subscription, Globacom has 19,690,526 customers against Airtel’s 17,272,665 users. Etisalat and MTN garnered 10,421,229 and 39,520,285 active internet users respectively in a total of 86,904,705 mobile internet users. In terms of contribution to the economy, the report NBS said the telecoms sector in real terms recorded a growth rate of 5.26 per cent in the opening quarter of this year with a contribution of N134bn to economic output.

It said annual growth in the sector averaged 46.29 per cent between 2002 and 2014, with the highest rate recorded in 2004 at 153.65 per cent while the lowest rise of 8.53 per cent was recorded in 2011. It said, “Since May 2014, monthly growth in GSM subscribers has averaged 0.95 per cent with the greatest increase being recorded in December 2014 at 1.97 per cent and the lowest in July of the same year at 0.43 per cent.

“The growth in subscribers was mainly driven by Globacom, which recorded an average rate of 1.45 per cent over the period, followed by Etisalat with 1.37 per cent and Airtel with 1.29 per cent while MTN recorded the lowest average monthly growth in subscribers at 0.44 per cent.”

The greatest monthly growth rate of the four networks, according to the report, was recorded for Globacom in July 2014 in which the number of subscribers increased by 1.63 million or 6.37 per cent, while the lowest rate was recorded for Airtel with a total value of 436,260 or 1.72 per cent in July. NBS also said out of the four telecoms providers, MTN dominated the number of subscriptions with 61.21 million subscribers or 42.84 per cent of the total.

Globacom with 30.03 million representing 21 per cent followed, while Airtel with a subscriber base of 28.6 million or 20.4 per cent and Etisalat with 22.3 million or 15.69 per cent followed in that order respectively. Apex regulator, NCC revealed that Globacom now recorded 30,040,119 subscribers which represent 21 percent of the entire Nigerian subscribers.

At the same time, Airtel dropped to the second position with 29,291,114 or about 20 per cent of GSM market. MTN maintained the lead with 61,281,803 subscribers or 43 percent while Etisalat cornered 22,444,198 or 16 per cent mobile users. Last year, data also showed that by the end of February, the number of connected lines was 192,769,198 customers.

Last year, it was 177.23 million, of which 129.02 million were active, as against 161.17 million connected lines and 117.28 million active users as at March 2013. The data further revealed that GSM technology accounted for 99 per cent of market share of phone users, CDMA accounted for less than 1 per cent, while fixed technology accounted almost going extinct.

The data was indicative of the fact that CDMA and fixed lines are being edged out, with GSM taking complete control of telephony in the country.

Since the sector’s deregulation 14 years ago, the growth of the telecoms industry has been massive. Today, the sector is reputed to contribute over per cent to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country. The revolution in the sector commenced in 2001 when Econet Wireless Nigeria now Airtel, MTN Nigeria and the moribund M-Tel rolled out GSM services. They were later to be joined by Globacom, which secured a second nation carrier licence in 2003, and Etisalat.

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