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The positive momentum in Nigeria’s telecommunications sector continued into the month of October as the latest data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the month of October showed that the number of mobile and Internet subscribers grew to 180.4 million and 123.6 million in October from 179.2 million and 123.2 million in September respectively.

Notably, broadband subscription recorded the highest expansion, growing 7.0% m/m and 27.0% y/y to 72.3m subscriptions in October. The strong growth in broadband subscriptions pushed broadband penetration to an all-time high of 37.8%, the highest level since January 2017 when NCC began compiling the data.

In terms of the positioning of the industry players based on subscriber base, MTN remained the biggest player with a subscriber base of 65.8 million (market share; 36.6%) trailed by GLO NG with 50.3 million subscribers (27.9%) then Airtel Nigeria with 49.1 million subscribers (27.3%). Meanwhile, 9mobile sustained its seventh consecutive months of losing subscribers with its subscriber base now at 14.8 million (8.2%) from 16.4 million (9.4%) at the start of the year.

Nigeria’s telecommunications sector remains the bright spot in the non-oil sector and a major contributor to the economy, supported by a vibrant and youthful population and the growing adoption of mobile internet services. The industry players have also played their part in supporting the industry by investing heavily in network infrastructure to accelerate the 3G/4G bandwidth coverage.

We highlight that Airtel Africa in partnership with Intercellular Nigeria recently acquired an additional 10 MHZ spectrum in the 900 MHZ band for N25.2bn (US$70m). Looking ahead, we believe the growing shift to data-driven growth model amidst rising smartphone penetration and government efforts to boost broadband penetration will support the growth of the sector in the medium to long term.

[READ MORE: 2020 Budget: An end to Nigeria’s budget cycle conundrum?]

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