Nigeria’s inactive mobile lines decline to 89m

Mobile Network Operators in Nigeria realised more revenue from their issued lines in June as the number of inactive users reduced from 94.6 million in May to 89 million. This means that about 5 million lines that had been inactive were used in the month.

A mobile line is said to be inactive if it is not used by the subscriber to make or receive calls and/or access data services for 90 days, at the minimum. Such lines are separated from active lines as they generate no revenue for telecom operators within the stated period.

According to the latest statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards so far sold and connected by the MNOs had hit 285.2 million as of June this year. However, only 196 million of those lines were actively being used by telecoms consumers to access voice services from their respective operators. With this, the MNOs were able to generate revenue from only 68.7 per cent of SIMs sold to their customers.

Until May this year, the number of inactive lines had been on a steady increase. The trend, however, started changing in May when the number reduced from 95.5 million in April to 94.6 million, while the June record showed a further decline in the number of abandoned lines.

At the beginning of the telecoms revolution in 2001, a SIM was sold for as high as N60, 000. However, the stiff competition among the telecom operators for the subscribers has pushed many of them to be offering their SIMs for free, laced with promises of free credit and data upon activation. This paper’s investigations revealed that most of the subscribers often go for the new lines to enjoy the freebies only to discard the lines once the gift period is over.

Industry analysts have also attributed the increasing number of inactive lines to the fact that SIM cards are now easy to acquire and dump. According to them, the MNOs are also contributing to the increase through their aggressive marketing strategy of offering SIMs to customers for free.

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