Active mobile subscriptions across the four GSM networks of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile rose by 1.2 million in November 2021. According to the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), this brought the subscriptions database to 192.8 from 191.6 million recorded in October.
After months of consistent loss of subscriptions due to the government’s ban on new SIM registration between December 2020 and April 2021, the telcos returned to gains in June 2021.
According to the NCC’s industry data for November 2021, two of the four GSM operators gained more subscriptions while the other two recorded losses in the month.
Airtel led the gainers as it added 1.03 million subscriptions in the month, which brought its customer database to 52.9 million at the end of November. Globacom also gained 402,275 new subscriptions in the month to record 53.7 million total customers.
However, MTN Nigeria, which remained the largest mobile operator by the number of subscriptions in the country lost 151,038 subscriptions in the month. This saw its database declined to 73.4 million from 73.6 million it recorded in the previous month. 9mobile also lost 57,073 active subscriptions, which brought its total subscriptions to 12.7 million from 12.8 million it recorded in the previous month.
From a peak of 207.5 million in November 2020, mobile subscriptions in Nigeria had declined significantly after a government policy banning new SIM registration for four months. While the operators had recorded some gains in the past few months, they are still far from recovering the lost number.
Meanwhile, with the ongoing NIN-SIM linkage exercise, some of the current active lines may be disconnected at the end of March this year, if the government goes ahead to enforce the deadline fixed for the mandatory NIN-SIM linkage for subscribers.