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MTN wins data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile 

Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunication company, MTN, is leading the race for greater data market share among Telcos for the second month in a row. Operators in the industry showed no signs of relenting on their efforts to outsmart each other for market share in the industry. #MTN, #AIRTEL,#GLO

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Data War: MTN edges our Airtel for first time in 5 months as 493,556 subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile , MTN is winning the data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile, Data War: MTN gains 8.18 million subscribers in 2019, as Airtel edges Glo, 9mobile

The battle for a greater data market share among Telcos in Nigeria continues to heighten, as Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunication company, MTN, led the pack, second month in a row. Operators in the industry showed no signs of relenting on their efforts to outsmart each other for market share in the industry.

According to data released by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), 1.88 million internet subscribers dumped Glo and 9mobile in November 2019 in favour of MTN and Airtel, two of Nigeria’s largest data sellers.

MTN leads the pack

From the previous report, MTN edged out Airtel for the first time in 5 months. In a similar fashion, MTN appears to be winning the data war again, as the telecom company gained 850,285 internet subscribers in November 2019.

[READ ALSO: MTN missing as 9 Mobile gets final 5 bidders(Opens in a new browser tab)]

  • MTN now has a total of 53.01 million subscribers compared to 52.16 million subscribers in the previous month.
  • Airtel, which had been the leading gainers’ table in recent months, recorded another drop. Though it continues to witness additional internet subscribers on a month-on-month basis, the Telco has lost its top table rank.
  • In November 2019, Airtel gained 307,070 subscribers, compared to 420,031 and 444,598 internet subscribers in October and September respectively. In total, active internet subscribers for Airtel rose to 33.92 million.
  • In terms of market share, Airtel continues to trail MTN as the latter expands its market share. While Airtel has significantly gained subscribers this year, it has remained behind MTN in terms of total internet subscriber base.
  • At the end of November 2019, MTN’s total market share rose to 67.34 million subscribers from 65.87 million subscribers recorded in October.
  • On the other hand, Airtel’s number of subscribers rose to 49.65 million from 49.08 million recorded in the previous month.
  •  Pertaining to overall market share, MTN now controls 36.93%, while Airtel controls 27.20%.

MTN is winning the data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile 

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Glo suffers monumental drop as 9mobile slips further 

In a complete turn of events for Globacom, 1.67 million internet subscribers dumped the network in just one month. The GSM company continues to lose internet subscribers as more people dumped the network for the third month in a row.

  • Globacom lost about 1.67 million internet subscribers, an increase from 370,845 and 155,118 internet subscribers lost in October and September respectively. This means the GSM company has lost a cumulative 2.19 million internet subscribers in just 3 months.
  • 9mobile also failed to attract new subscribers in the month under review, maintaining its steady decline. In November alone, 210,374 internet subscribers dumped the GSM  company,  a rise from 122,711 internet subscribers in October and 156,065 recorded in September.
  • Overall, Globacom now has 27.3 million subscribers, while 9mobile has 8.13 million internet subscribers.
  • Following the big drop recorded by both Glo and 9mobile, the number of internet subscribers across GSM networks has dropped to 122.4 million from 123.2 million recorded in the previous month.
  • Year-on-year, internet subscribers rose by 10.85 million since December 31, 2018, representing a growth of just 9.7%. The number of internet subscribers was 73,122,552 in October 2014, 5 years ago.
  • In terms of market share in percentages, Glo still controls 28% (51.1 million) market share, while 9mobile controls 7.80% (14.1 million) market share.

MTN is winning the data war, as 1.88 million subscribers dump Glo, 9mobile 

Telcos jostle for subscribers but Nigerians are not impressed

While GSM companies continue to jostle for market share, it has often come at the expense of poor service and lack of accountability. Quite frankly, as an average internet user in Nigeria, one is usually left at the mercy of poor mobile internet services which frustrates one to seek limited alternatives.

Nigeria’s internet download speed remains among the slowest in the world, and while the telcos continue to rake in heavy gains from data sales, consumers continue to groan for lack of fast and affordable internet services.

While reporting, Nairametrics sought random subscribers’ opinions to determine recent developments during the month.

[READ MORE: Telcos disregard Pantami’s directives over voicemail, data costTelcos disregard Pantami’s directives over voicemail, data cost]

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According to a Glo user“I subscribed for an 8.7 gig data bundle for N4,000. As I am talking to you, I have not been able to use the data for once. To worsen the situation, I did not even get the full data bundle and I’m still unable to use the data. I had to buy Airtel data to use at the moment.”

A 9mobile user stated, “I have resolved to drop my 9mobile line. Honestly, it appears I don’t understand what is wrong with the network anymore. My data bundle burns out very quickly in a matter of days even without any download.”

According to an MTN user“MTN internet service is fast as always, but the data burns out quickly. Although my current data bundle seems to last longer right now, this is quite unusual.”

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To an Airtel user, “Airtel data is fast and I am enjoying it. I switched from Globacom due to bad network in recent times, although, Airtel data bundle has been burning out quickly lately.”

Samuel is an Analyst with over 5 years experience. Connect with him via his twitter handle

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Kingsley Obillor

    January 16, 2020 at 10:34 am

    Airtel is faster and expensive.
    MTN is a bit fast and cheaper.
    Glo is very poor when it’s comes to browsing but very very cheap.
    9mobile …………………

  2. I'm ola

    January 16, 2020 at 11:25 am

    We go for the highest bidder. We know they are all scamming and ripping us off. But since I got 10gb plus 10 gb bonus on my mtn. I clinged to mtn and let my other lines go on hibernation. Shikinah.

    • Anonymous

      January 17, 2020 at 7:08 pm

      10gb plus 10gb bonus? You mean you get 20gb altogether, how do you subscribe to this plan. Drop the code abeg

  3. Femi

    January 16, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Am currently using glo for my data needs it used to be the cheapest but never the fastest my resolve now at the expiration of my current subscription is to migrate to MTN no going back. Glo has lost the steam

  4. Adedinsewo adetomiwa

    January 17, 2020 at 8:01 am

    Glo will give you much data, but won’t give you the network to use the data. Airtel or mtn all the way guys😘

  5. Iwuala michael

    May 11, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    All they said is truth, GLO has been the worst network so far in a city like lagos. How can one give you something with right hand and collect it with left hand, its cheating. Glo will give you cheap data and you won’t see network to use it, rubbish! MTN is the best, I give them 5stars.

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Blurb

Total Nigeria caught in the oil demand and lockdown saga

In Q1 2020, the company had recorded a revenue drop of 9.3% to N70.2 billion compared to Q1 2019.

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Total Nigeria caught in the oil demand and lockdown saga

The year 2020 was supposed to be a good one for the global oil and gas industry. Save for the unprecedented fangs of the Covid-19 pandemic, the IEA had forecasted in February that the global oil demand would grow by 825,000 barrels a day in 2020. On the contrary, lockdown measures restraining travel and other economic activities to contain the pandemic in many parts of the world had global oil demand down around 90,000 barrels a day from 2019. While the upstream sector had a direct hit owing to this reduced demand, the impact of the pandemic on the downstream oil industry caused the price of crude oil to fall significantly in a short period of time. GlobalData had forecasted that the energy sector would face downward earnings revisions of 208% in 2020.

READ MORE: Analysis: Total Nigeria needs a financial overhaul

With the pandemic leading to a slowdown in a wide range of business and personal travel, even gasoline demand had reduced and this has led to inventory challenges in both the distribution network as well as the refineries. In Nigeria, following the challenges of the pandemic, the federal government deregulated the downstream sector of the oil industry through the removal of fuel subsidy. While it presents a level playing field for the downstream oil private sector, it didn’t take long before companies like Total Nigeria plc. started caving into the overall reduction in inventory from the reduced demand for oil products in Q2 2020. Consequently, the company witnessed a 45% reduction in inventories from N33.6 billion as at 31st December 2019 to N18.5 at the end of Q2 2020.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s Foreign Trade hits N9.18 trillion in Q3, as non-oil export rose by 374.5%

How the exogenous shocks affected an already ailing Total Nigeria

The success or failure of any organization depends on both the macroeconomic environment as well as the operations of the company itself. For Total Nigeria, the timing for the crisis had been off as it too had operational challenges to deal with. In Q1 2020, the company had recorded a revenue drop of 9.3% to N70.2 billion compared to Q1 2019. While the headwinds of the pandemic might have played a small role in the decline at least in the latter part of the quarter, the loss after tax of N163 million it had recorded was 65.6% better than the loss after tax of the  comparative quarter – a testament of the series of operational challenges it had from huge loans to raging expenses. While the company had set off on a strategic trajectory deploying a series of initiatives around cost efficiency, process optimization, as well as a significant reduction of working capital requirement and finance costs, Q2 had its own troubles waiting.

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Restrictions in the oil market had led to weaknesses across product lines. Total revenue fell by as much as 50% from N73 billion in Q2 2019 to N36.5 billion in Q2 2020. Revenues from petroleum products had contracted by 55.7% while lubricant sales also fell by 26.7% in the quarter. Across the company’s core business sectors comprising Networks, General Trade, and Aviation, revenue from aviation experienced the most decline, falling by 83.0%. Its performance can be predominantly attributed to the fall in demand owing to strict lockdown measures even in major Nigerian cities.

READ MORE: Five oil majors reduce value of their assets by $50 billion in Q2

Outlook

The outcome of the company’s internal and external challenges is a loss after tax of N373.9 million from N604 million in Q2 2019 – an alarming drop of 161.9%. However, its strategic intent is also visible. Net cash balance was a negative N19.6 billion at the end of the quarter, compared to negative N41.8 billion a year ago. Finance costs also declined by 76.1% to N830.3 million as the company sought to reduce its leverage position. In the same vein, borrowings came at N31.0 billion in Q2 2020 as opposed to the N39.9 billion in Q2 2019. Yet, the success of the company in the immediate future is somewhat bleak.

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This is because of the conditions of the oil market and overall economic landscape which is set to take a few years before returning to the norm as well as the financial and operational position of the company. That said, its earnings per share (EPS) of N4.37 and its price-to-earnings ratio of 18.12, reveal that the company has a good potential to make a rebound. However, it could take a few years. Hence, investors must be willing to wait for the long term. With its share price of N79.10 at the far bottom of its 52-week range of N78 and N129.50, it’s a great time to purchase its shares if you are willing to wait the long term.

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Implications of CBN’s latest devaluation and FX unification

This move portends significant implications for Nigeria’s public and private sector.

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Implications of CBN's latest devaluation and FX unification, current account deficit, IMF, COVID-19, CBN OMO ban could give stocks a much-needed boost , CBN’s N132.56 billion T-bills auction records oversubscription by 327% , Nigeria pays $1.09 billion to service external debt in 9 months , Implications of the new CBN stance on treasury bill sale to individuals, Digital technology and blockchain altering conventional banking models - Emefiele  , Increasing food prices might erase chances of CBN cutting interest rate   , Customer complaint against excess/unauthorized charges hits 1, 612 - CBN , CBN moves to reduce cassava derivatives import worth $600 million  , Invest in infrastructural development - CBN Governor admonishes investors , Credit to government declines, as Credit to private sector hits N25.8 trillion, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms, CBN sets N10 billion minimum capital for Mortgage firms , Why you should be worried about the latest drop in external reserves, CBN, Alert: CBN issues N847.4 billion treasury bills for Q1 2020 , PMI: Nigeria’s manufacturing sector gains momentum in November, CBN warns high foreign credits could collapse Nigeria’s economy, predicts high poverty, MPC Member, BVN, Fitch, Foreign excchange (Forex), Overnight rates crash after CBN’s N1.4 trillion deduction, Nigeria’s foreign reserves hit $36.57 billion; Emefiele keeps his word on defending the naira, CBN to support maize farmers, projects 12.5 million metric tons in 18 months

The CBN devalued the naira by 5% at the end of last week, adjusting the official exchange rate to N380/$1  in a major move aimed at unifying the multiple exchange rate windows.

Whilst no official confirmation was issued by the apex bank, its website displayed the buying rate of N379/$1 and selling rate of N380/$1. Nigeria is clearly in a new exchange rate territory.

This move portends significant implications for Nigeria’s public and private sectors. Since March when the CBN last depreciated from N307/$1 to N360/$1, there have been calls for further depreciation to at least close the gap between the official CBN rate and the more market-friendly NAFEX exchange rate. The NAFEX rate has traded between N385-390 in recent weeks.

READ MORE: Manufacturing sector in Nigeria and the reality of a “new normal”

Government Finances

For the federal government, devaluing the naira solves two major issues:

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  • Firstly, it increases the amount available to share from the Federal Allocation (FAAC) between the FG and States.
  • Oil proceeds, which is a major source of revenue sharing for the government is deposited at the CBN and then converted to naira using the official exchange rate of N360/$1. The CBN’s latest devaluation suggests more money for the government as the conversion rate is now N379/$1.
  • Government taxes that are priced in forex but converted to naira also stand to gain a major earnings boost.
  • Custom duties, petroleum profit taxes, and other charges will now be converted at an exchange rate of N379/$1 or whatever new rate the CBN chooses, assuming it will work within the NAFEX band.
  • A second issue the solves is the condition precedent towards obtaining a $3 billion world bank loan. The government applied for a world bank loan as part of its N2.3 trillion stimulus expected to be injected into the economy.
  • It is understood that a unification of the exchange rate is critical to the disbursement of the loan.

Whilst these are positives, the government will record cost escalations for some if not all of its capital projects and expenditure. From vehicle purchases to furniture and fittings we should expect a spike except the contracts are fixed-priced.

READ ALSO: Explained: CBN’s powers to seize bank account of criminals

Private Sector

The impact of the latest devaluation will also be significant for the private sector.

  • While the private sector has recorded its own devaluation via the NAFEX and more recently the SMIS window, the impact of the CBN’s latest move will still be felt.
  • Most private pubic partnership projects, contracts are priced using the CBN official exchange rate. The price will now change to N379/$1 at the least.
  • The latest move could also lead to a reopening of forex sale to BDC’s which the CBN suspended in March as the Covid-19 pandemic ensued.
  • Sectors such as Power, Downstream Oil and Gas where the government has control over pricing will be significantly affected by the new price.
  • An example if fuel prices. With the exchange rate devalued again, fuel prices might increase if the impact of the exchange rate is reflected in the pricing template.

READ MORE: Expert simplifies FIRS’ newly-introduced stamp duty

NAFEX versus Official Rate

It is not clear how the latest round of devaluation affects the NAFEX rate and other separate rates currently in use by the CBN. Whilst the disparity has been closed somewhat, we still do not know if these windows will be retained or if we will just have two major exchange rate windows, the BDC and the NAFEX.

Most critics of the CBN’s forex policy prefer a uniform exchange rate that is floating or under a managed float system. The difference is that the CBN intervenes occasionally to ensure the exchange rate trades within its preferred band. It does this even if it means burning through its thin reserves.

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We expect a string of circulars in the coming days which will perhaps douse some of the confusion providing needed clarity to the exchange rate situation.

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Why Shoprite is “exiting” Nigeria

Shoprite’s intention to divest from its Nigerian operations appears to be anchored on these factors.

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Shoprite, Growth outlook

Africa’s largest retail chain, Shoprite, announced on Monday that it is considering divesting from its Nigerian retail entity, Retail Supermarkets Nigeria, the owners of Shoprite Supermarket Nigeria.

Shoprite Nigeria operates about 26 outlets across the country and employs about 2000 employees who are 99% Nigerians. A divestment means it will sell its holdings to another investor who will continue to run the business.

According to the company, it has taken a decision to leave “following approaches from various potential investors” looking to invest in the Nigerian entity.  The group also said the decision is in line with its “re-evaluation of the Group’s operating model in Nigeria” one of the 15 countries where it currently operates.

Shoprite also confirmed it has initiated a formal process to sell its entire stake in the Nigerian entity or a majority stake.

READ ALSO: Nigeria’s retail outlets risk CBN sanction, debit N50 PoS fee from customers 

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Why the exit?

Shoprite’s explanation of its intention to divest from its Nigerian operations appears to be anchored on its investment expectation and operating environment. However, there could be more to it.

Firstly, Nigeria is a highly competitive space, where retail is the survival of the fittest. Following Shoprite’s foray into Nigeria in 2002, the retail chain disrupted Nigeria’s retail space giving ordinary Nigerians a taste of what it feels to shop with family and friends. But the fairy tale was not going to last forever. Previous retail outlets like Park n Shop rebranded and injected significant funds in their operations and business expansion. Park n Shop rebranded to Spar and has 14 outlets across the country. It only makes sense for them to divest having held on to the Nigerian operations for almost two decades.

Shoprite also competes with homegrown retail outlets especially in Nigeria’s commercial city, Lagos State. Retail outlets like Ebeano, Citydia, and Adiba are now household names that are expanding rapidly across the state. There are also several neighbourhood supermarkets in the nooks and cranny of Nigeria’s commercial capital piling pressure on Shoprite’s market share. Shoprite does not disclose revenues from its Nigerian operations.

Shopping is also going online as evidenced by the growth in online shopping since COVID-19 hit Nigeria. Jumia, one of Nigeria’s largest online retail outlets, revealed lower earnings in the first quarter of 2020. However, the company is optimistic of higher revenue growth in Q2, on the back of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Jumia had earlier noted that “we are seeing unprecedented demand to join the Jumia platform, especially for named brands. We believe those dynamics will help accelerate the shift toward online.”

READ MORE: The deal that helped Lafarge stock gain 18% in less than a week

Local competitors like Spar and Ebeano already offer online shopping experiences and deliver goods to your doorstep. Shoprite’s business model relies heavily on physical store visits.

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As internet services become faster and cheaper, more Nigerians will rely on e-commerce to meet their shopping needs. Jumia has often struggled in this space and remains unprofitable. However, gravitation towards online shopping is inevitable and only those who have the capital and know-how will come out winners.

Jumia’s competitor in this space, Konga, was also recently acquired by Zinnox. Konga was then merged with another Nigerian retail giant Yudula. Interestingly, Konga’s model includes a combination of online and brick and mortar. The company has since been acquiring warehouses across the country as delivery points for its retail expansion drive.

Nigeria’s harsh operating environment is also another major challenge Shoprite faces. The Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, through the CBN, has focused on supporting locally made goods by banning forex availability for the importation of local substitutes. This has negatively impacted the number of products Shoprite can sell and how many new shelves it can create per floor space. It also creates supply chain challenges, especially with locally produced goods.

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Note that supermarkets sell on very thin margins. Therefore, the more products they can sell the higher the operating profits. Taxes are also higher and Nigeria’s susceptibility to exchange rate devaluation is also a major challenge. The company makes money in Naira and must convert to dollars before converting back to Rands.

READ MORE: Exploring branchless, other digital forms of banking in a crisis

In 2017, when Nigeria last faced a currency crisis, Shoprite explained that it has about Rand 2.3 billion in cash locked up in Angola and Nigeria due to currency restrictions (inability to repatriate their money on time). Information reaching Nairametrics from traders suggest most foreign-owned investments in Nigeria are also facing “restrictions” due to limited liquidity in the NAFEX window.

Shoprite’s less talked challenge is its Legal Issues. In 2011, Nigerian company A.I.C Limited (the Claimant), which is owned by Chief Henry Akande, issued a summons against Shoprite South Africa and its Nigerian subsidiary for an alleged breach of a joint venture agreement (the JV Agreement) allegedly concluded in 1998. The company took Shoprite to court claiming it breached on an agreement to set up the Nigerian arm of the business.

The Federal High Court then ruled in favour of AIC and awarded damages of $10 million against Shoprite in 2017. Shoprite appealed the judgment in the appeal court and lost again earlier in 2020. It is unclear if Shoprite has any plans to take the matter up to the Supreme Court. Could this be another reason why the owners are deciding to divest?

Whatever the reason is, officially, it perhaps makes sense for the company to exit its Nigerian operations in the light of the points mentioned above. Its Nigerian entity is worth 1.1 billion Rands (N24 billion) per its financial statements and could be worth more when the sale is eventually consummated.

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