Xenophobia, MTN Nigeria’s shares drop on NSE following attack on its centres in Nigeria
MTN building.

The latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) shows that Nigeria’s telecommunication company, MTN, lost a record of 667,245 internet subscribers in just one month.

According to data obtained from the NCC, MTN’s total internet subscribers stood at 52.2 million in July 2019 while the number dropped to 51.6 million in August. It should, however, be noted that this is the second time MTN Nigeria would lose internet subscribers in about a year.

In an earlier report published on Nairametrics, it was disclosed that MTN lost 178,103 internet subscribers in June as data concerns rise. However, Airtel has continued to grow its subscriber’s base.

Industry Internet Stats: The NCC report shows five major GSM internet subscribers in the country which include Airtel, 9mobile, Globacom, MTN and Visafone. As at the end of August 2019, the total internet subscribers dropped to 122.5 million, from 122.6 million internet subscribers. This means the total internet subscribers dropped by less than 100,000

  • However, despite the drop in internet subscribers, MTN remains the network with the highest subscribers with 42% of the total market share.
  • On the other hand, Airtel Nigeria maintains a position as the internet provider with the second-largest subscribers estimated at 32.7 million or 27% of total industry subscribers.
  • In August, Airtel gained 350,134 internet subscribers, the only internet service provider that recorded a positive growth alongside Visafone with 83,482 internet subscribers.
  • It should be noted that 9mobile has continued to lose subscribers for the past 2 years. Hence, in August, 9mobile lost another 176,575 internet subscribers.

Market Share: In terms of the total industry Market share, Airtel has finally edged out Glo from the second position in terms of overall market share. Glo had maintained the second position in terms of the total subscribers until recent times.

  • MTN maintains the biggest market share as competition heightens. While MTN formerly had 40% of the market share, current statistics show MTN now controls 37.2% estimated to 65.7 million subscribers.
  • Airtel has finally breezed past Globacom in both internet subscribers and total subscribers.
  • According to the NCC August report, Airtel controls 27.13% (47.9 million) of the total market share, Globacom with 26.76% (47.2 million) market share while 9mobile market share still remains at 9% (15.6 million).

Rising Concerns: Development in recent times suggests that the drop in internet subscribers in some major telecom service providers may be traceable to concerns over the poor data/internet connection. Also, Nigerians have expressed concerns over the speed at which internet data bundles burn very quickly.

  • While the recent Xenophobic attacks in South Africa may have hugely affected MTN’s industry stat in Nigeria, the drop in MTN’s total internet subscribers may partly also be connected to recent claims by customers that the data bundles exhaust fast.
  • In a recent article published on Nairametrics, it was revealed that in terms of data service, Nigerians are expressing displeasures that MTN and Airtel data bundles are relatively more expensive and also exhaust quick. However, Nigerians continually opt for the same networks as others are perceived to be unpleasantly slow.
  • Despite claims of the quick exhaustion of data, an earlier report from the United Kingdom-based price comparison website, Cable, revealed that Nigeria’s internet download speed is among the slowest in the world.

On the side-line, 9mobile’s industry stat continues to drop by the number. It should be noted that 9mobile has continued to lose 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.

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

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