Sustaining its increase for the second month after five months of decline, mobile subscriptions across the four GSM networks in Nigeria rose by 195,313 in July 2021, TechTrackAfrica reports. According to the latest industry data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), this brought the total mobile subscriptions in the country to 187.4 million.
Earlier in June, the four network operators, MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile had activated a total of activated 580,082 new lines which brought the database to 187.2 million.
Impacted by the government’s suspension of new SIM activation for over four months, from December 9, 2020, to April 19, 2021, the telecom operators had lost over 20 million subscriptions. Active mobile subscriptions across the four networks, which stood at 207.5 million as of November 2020, had plunged to 186.6 million by May this year.
The operators were able to bounce back in June as SIM activations resumed fully. However, the July data as released by the NCC showed that only one of the four operators gained new subscriptions in the month under review. Globacom recorded 1.07 million new subscriptions in the month which brought its database to 51.1 million from 50.1 million in June. With this, the telco overtook Airtel as the second-largest operator by subscriber number.
Subscription losses recorded by MTN and Airtel reduced the impacts of the gain posted by Globacom on the country’s total active subscription figure. According to NCC, MTN, which is still the largest operator by subscriber number, lost 447,460 subscriptions in July. This brought its subscription database down to 73.1 million from 73.5 million it recorded in June.
Airtel also shed 364,486 subscriptions from its database in the period under review. The network operator had a total of 50.3 million active subscriptions as of July end compared with 50.6 billion it had in June.
Industry analysts said the reduction in the operators’ subscriptions may be connected to the standing order that all improperly registered SIMs must be disconnected by the operators.