According to the latest internet subscribers data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the total number of mobile internet subscribers in Nigeria reached 115.9 million in March 2019.
The report shows that in February this year, mobile internet subscribers stood at 114.7m, and then increased to 115.9m in March 2019. This implies that a total of 1.2 million new internet subscribers were recorded in March 2019.
The latest internet subscribers data also shows that telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc, maintains a distant top with 46.5m subscribers. This is followed by Airtel (31.2m), and Globacom (28.4m).
Telco’s Current Positions: MTN Nigeria continues to be the leading telecom company with the highest number of internet subscribers. However, MTN‘s internet subscribers market share declined slightly in March when compared to the previous month.
Note that an earlier report by Nairametrics revealed that MTN controls about 41 percent. However, due to the slow rise in MTN’s internet subscribers, its total share of internet subscribers recently dropped to 40 percent.
Airtel ranks second with 31.2m internet subscribers, with 27 percent of total subscribers market share. In February, the company’s internet subscribers stood at 30.8m; increasing to 31.2 million in March.
On the other hand, Globacom bounced back from the decline witnessed in February by recording 28.4m subscribers in March; up from 27.4 million earlier recorded. This also implies that the company’s internet subscribers market share increased by 1 percent to 25 percent market share.
Visafone‘s internet subscribers data has just been included by the NCC, and available record shows that the company has recorded 64,076 subscribers. It has fewer internet subscribers market share.
9mobile lose Subscribers: The internet subscribers statistics show that 9mobile has recorded a consistent decrease in two months. In just two months, the company lost 240,573 subscribers. This has caused its market share to drop. As at the end of March, 9mobile controls just 8 percent of total subscribers share, down from 9 percent.
Upshots: Nigeria’s telecom sector is growing, and the big players are taking advantage of it. According to the Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC, Professor Umar Danbatta, in the first quarter of 2019, the telecoms industry contributed N2 trillion to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
What this implies is that business is good. MTN Nigeria just debuted on the Nigerian Stock Exchange by listing over 20 billion shares at N90 per share. Since then, the stock has gained 20%, increasing its market cap by over N360 billion to N2.2 trillion.
Therefore, as competition heightens in the industry, 9mobile and others would need to review their strategies in order to remain relevant.
The Acting Managing Director of 9mobile, Stephane Beulevet, recently hinted at the steps being taken by the telco in this regard.
“We need stability in the telecoms industry and we will do everything possible to protect the interest of both the 9mobile subscribers and its investors and ensure there is no disruption of services.”