Despite massive media campaigns over the last few months, Airtel lost more than 100,000 subscribers in Nigeria between December 2019 and January 2020.
But while Airtel Nigeria’s subscriber base declined, it’s rivals –MTN Nigeria and Globacom–recorded growth in their total number of their respective active subscribers.
Based on the performance indicators for January, it appears that Airtel’s strategy of using top Nollywood actors in its numerous commercials have failed to appeal to market audiences.
Losers in the telco market
According to the telephone service report which was recently released by Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Airtel Nigeria accounted for 49.9 million subscribers in January 2020, a slight decline compared to the 50.1 million it had in December last year.
Note that Airtel and Globacom have recently been on each others’ jugulars, vying for market share in a bid to occupy the number two position in the Nigerian telecoms industry. But now that Globacom has finally pulled ahead of Airtel, the question remains about how long it can manage to maintain the number two position right behind MTN Nigeria.
In the meantime, 9mobile continues to struggle. The company, which was formerly known as Etisalat, has been losing its subscribers since a recent change in ownership led to a brand name change.
Based on the latest report by the NCC, 9mbile is now the highest loser, with its subscriber base declining by over 484,000 in January alone.
Prior to January 2020, 9mobile had 13.6 million subscribers in December. That number now stands at 13.1 million. The last time the network provider surpassed 15 million active subscribers was in May last year.
The gainers of the telco market
The NCC report showed that Globacom’s subscriber based increased by 55,509 to hit 51.75 million in January, up from 51.70 million in December 2019. It is believed that the surge in Globacom’s subscribers has been its aggressive marketing which has helped it to secure 27.85% of the market share.
Just like Airtel Nigeria, the Mike Adenuga-owned company has been using top celebrities to push for market share. Luckily for Globacom, the expensive media budget has been reflective on its subscriber base. Unfortunately, the same cannot quite be said for Airtel Nigeria which holds 26.92% of the market.
On its part, MTN Nigeria has continued to maintain its position as the leader in the Nigerian telecoms industry. The company was the biggest gainer in the month of January, having added 1.93 million subscribers to its already existing 68.7 million subscribers as of December. This has, therefore, increased MTN’s total active subscribers to 70.6 million in January 2020.
This means the Y’ellow firm account for 38.06% of the market share. Altogether, the industry recorded an increase from 184.4 million telephone subscribers in December to 185.7 million subscribers in January 2020.
Data war changes the status quo
While Globacom is ahead of Airtel Nigeria in total subscribers, Airtel Nigeria is second highest in terms of data; right behind MTN Nigeria. Airtel Nigeria’s data subscribers increased to 35.5 million in January from 34.5 million.
Globacom was behind with 29.2 million subscribers , although this is an increase compared to the 28.9 million it recorded in December 2019.
The difference between Airtel and Globacom in the total number of data subscriber is network service for browsing.Globacom users have often complained about poor network service.
In the data war, MTN Nigeria held no punches in its bid to dominate the market. The company continues to lead in both total active subscribers and data subscribers. MTN Nigeria’s subscribers increased to 55 million in January from 54 million in. December.
But while MTN Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria, and Globacom experienced a surge in their subscriber base, 9mobile keep declining. The company’s total data subscriber base dropped from 8.06 million in December to 8.04 million in January.