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There appears to be more worries for Nigeria’s telecommunication network, 9mobile, as the company has lost 3.49 million internet subscribers in the last two years. According to a data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), 9mobile’s mobile internet subscribers stood at 12.8 million in May 2017, but the figure dropped to 9.3 million in May 2019.

The data shows that 9mobile has continued to drop internet subscribers for several months. It also reveals that 9mobile has lost 532,489 internet subscribers in just five months of 2019.

Recent Industry Statistics: The latest statistics released by the NCC shows that the total number of mobile internet subscribers in Nigeria rose to 122.6 million in May 2019. This indicates a 3% increase from the 119.5 million subscribers in the previous month.


Number breakdown shows that within the past months (April-May 2019), MTN Nigeria added about 2.4 million internet subscribers. This makes it the largest gainer for the month.


The Second on the list is Airtel, with 595,093 internet subscribers added to its internet network, followed by Globacom which added 198,142. Meanwhile, Visafone added 8,991 while 9mobile recorded 595 thousand subscribers quitting its internet network.

Overall, MTN has 52.4 million internet subscribers, followed by Airtel with 31.9 million subscribers. Glo has 28.8 million, 9mobile has 9.35 million, while Visafone recorded 82,637 internet subscribers.

[READ ALSO: 9mobile drops again, as Nigeria’s mobile internet subscribers hit 115.9m]

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The Market Share: As at the end of May 2019, MTN still controlled the lion share in the telecommunication market both in internet service provision and the overall market in terms of users. According to the NCC data,

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  • 43% of internet subscribers use MTN,
  • 26% subscribed to Airtel,
  • Globacom controls 24% of internet subscribers,
  • 9mobile has only 8%, while
  • Visafone controls less than 1% market share of internet subscribers.

In terms of the total number of subscribers, MTN Nigeria is the market leader as the telecoms giant boasts 64.8 million (37%) of the total subscribers.


[READ FURTHER: Telecoms operators fined N74 million for violating regulations]

  • Airtel ranks second with 26% or 45.6 million subscribers.
  • Globacom Nigeria is the third on the list, controlling 27% or 46.4 million subscribers.
  • 9mobile comes 4th with 9% of total subscribers.
  • Lastly, Visafone has 117 thousand subscribers, representing just 1% of total subscribers in Nigeria.

Some Worrying Trends: It should be noted that 9mobile has lost subscribers for two consecutive years. This implies that while the company keeps losing subscribers, other competing service providers are heightening strategies and jostling to add as many more users to their networks as possible.

For instance, the NCC data shows that MTN maintains its lead in the industry with over 50 million mobile internet subscribers while Airtel and Globacom are also on the rise.

What this implies: The face of Nigeria’s telecom industry is taking a new lift and 9mobile may not survive if the company’s downward trend lingers.

  • For example, just weeks after the market leader, MTN Nigeria, got listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, Airtel Nigeria has also been listed.
  • This somehow suggests that key players in the industry are witnessing growth and expansion, and Globacom may equally join the train as time goes by.
  • It remains unknown if the take-over legal battle faced by 9Mobile for months could be contributing to the sustained decline in its market share.

In the meantime, as competition heightens in the industry, 9mobile will need a strategic push in order to remain relevant and active.

[ALSO READ: Mobile Internet Subscribers hit 114.7m, as 9mobile and Glo drop yet again]


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