A report released this week by the nation’s telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) indicates that mobile telephone subscription in Nigeria increased by 25,754,201, between November 2021 and November 2022, rising to 218,608,607 as at November 2022, from 192,854,406 in November 2021.
Subscription progressively increased each month, with an average of 2 million subscribers per month, but however had a leap of 4,258,509 between October and November 2022.
However, fixed wired data subscription, where MTN, Glo, ipNX and 21st Century operate, generally declined by 9,357, from 106,430 in November 2021 to 97,073 in November 2022; while Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) subscribers under NTEL and Smile increase marginally by 22,680, from 225,489 to 248,169 subscribers over same period.
CDMA services have fizzled out in Nigeria, with the last two Visafone (bought over by MTN) and Multilinks out of operation.
Despite this increase in mobile subscription, the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy notes that about 31.6 million Nigerians live in areas without telecoms coverage. The ministry stated that the absence of such coverage had enabled increased criminal activities and insecurity in these unserved areas.
The Global System for Mobile Communication Association (GSMA), an industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide, had last year, estimated that 18 million new subscribers will be added to the Nigerians by 2025. It recognised that mobile connectivity is at the core of connectivity in Nigeria, with the majority of online services accessed through mobile channels in the country.
Anticipating the role mobile connectivity is set to play in defining the new normal in Nigeria, GSMA said: “In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated around 8 per cent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa, a contribution that amounted to almost $140bn of economic value added.
“The mobile ecosystem also supported more than 3.2 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with $16bn raised through taxes on the sector. By 2025, mobile’s contribution will grow by $65bn (to almost $155bn), as the countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.”
More than 750 mobile operators are full GSMA members and a further 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem are associate members.