Nigeria’s telecommunication landscape witnessed a unique level of competition in terms of the data war, as major telecoms operators recorded increases in their subscriber base in August 2020.
While subscribers exercised their power of ‘free entry and free exit’ in July 2020 to abandon some network providers for their preferred networks, the tide changed in August, as none of the data providers witnessed any loss.
According to data released by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for the month of August 2020, Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunication company, MTN, gained 1.598 million data subscribers between July and August. Airtel successfully maintained an edge over Glo in terms of data subscriber numbers, as the telco added 738,462 subscribers, while the indigenous brand got 231,341.
On the other hand, 9mobile, whose number of data subscribers had suffered a steady decline for months, took industry watchers by surprise in August. Contrary to its July report when its subscriber base fell from 7.25 million (May) to 7.14 million (July), Its data subscribers rose by 32,621 in August, to a record of 7,170 million subscribers.
In July 2020, Nairametrics reported that Glo attracted more subscribers, outshining Airtel’s subscriber base for the first time in years. Despite a challenging year for Globacom in terms of its data subscriber base, the telco took industry watchers by surprise, as its subscriber base number overtook Airtel’s in June 2020.
For the first time in years, Airtel, the once second largest telco (by subscribers base) lost its position to Glo, as the latter increased its base from 37.23 million in May to 37.97 million by the end of June 2020, while the former only managed to increase its base from 37.32 million to 37.57 million within the same period.
MTN still leads the pack
Competition among three of Nigeria’s largest data sellers took different turns in July, as Airtel recovered from the drop recorded in June when it took over its second-place position from Glo. It is important to note that in June 2020, about 249,000 data subscribers dumped Airtel for other networks, a development that made Glo take over the second place from the brand.
Meanwhile, in a complete twist of events, at the end of July 2020, the total number of data subscribers on MTN data network rose from 60.60 million in June to 62.29 million in July, followed by Airtel data network, which rose from 37.56 million to 39.05 million. This means the telcos added 1.69 million and 1.49 million data subscribers, respectively.
In its own case, Glo managed to increase its subscriber base by 285,011 from 37.97 million to 38.25 million within the same period.
The internet remains slow in Nigeria, despite the global return to the pre-COVID-19 levels. In its recent report in tracking COVID-19’s Impact on Global Internet Performance, which was updated in July 2020, Speed Test found that internet speeds in most countries have stabilized to pre-pandemic levels.
However, it stated that in the case of Nigeria, while the global fixed speed increased by 5%, the African giant’s speed was rated -2%, with her mobile speed at -3%.
Also, Nairametrics had reported earlier that years down the line, Nigeria is still faced with poor internet quality. In a recent survey conducted on 4G services in 77 countries including Nigeria, Network monitoring outfit, Opensignal, concluded that congestion is messing with the 4G user experience. Nigeria ranked 75 out of 77 of the countries surveyed in terms of 4G speed.
According to Opensignal, the 4G networks enjoyed today are light-years from the 3G that kicked off the mobile data revolution at the turn of the millennium. But the networks have their faults, the biggest among them being inconsistency and congestion.
In all, 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.
Veteran talk-show host, Larry King dies at 87
Legendary longtime CNN talk show host, Larry King is dead.
Larry King, the multiple award-winning TV and radio host has died at the age of 87.
King who had a long-running show on CNN, Larry King Live was a household name for his many interviews with political leaders, celebrities and newsmakers.
King’s death was announced on his official Twitter handle stating that he passed on Saturday morning at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, USA.
The statement read in part:
“With profound sadness, Ora Media announces the death of our co-founder, host and friend Larry King, who passed away this morning at age 87 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
“For 63 years and across the platforms of radio, television and digital media, Larry’s many thousands of interviews, awards, and global acclaim stand as a testament to his unique and lasting talent as a broadcaster.”
The statement did not however give the cause of death, but sources say King was hospitalised for COVID-19 in early January.
Since the news broke, friends, colleagues and admirers have taken to different social networks to express their sadness and condole with the family of the celebrated broadcaster.
53,460 3G and 4G Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) deployed in Nigeria – Prof. Danbatta
The 3G and 4G base transceiver stations deployed in Nigeria in the last 5 years increased from 30,000 to 53,460.
A total of 53,460 third-generation (3G) and fourth-generation (4G) base transceiver stations (BTS) have been deployed in Nigeria in the last five years.
This was disclosed by the Executive Vice Chairman of Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta at a briefing session for the new Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu.
According to Danbatta, the effective regulatory regime put in place by his leadership has created the desired impetus for the increased deployment of infrastructure by various telecoms operators, which in turn, has helped to improve the broadband penetration and other related service delivery in the telecoms industry.
“The BTS, fibre optic cables and other related infrastructure are central to the provision of improved service experience for Nigerians by their respective telecoms service providers.
“The licensed Infrastructure Companies (InfraCos) are also expected to add 38,296km to optic fibre cables when they commence full operations.”
What they are saying
According to Prof Danbatta:
- “The Commission will continue to put in its best in the discharge of its mandates, especially in facilitating the deployment of broadband, which is central to diversifying the Nigerian economy and national development”
- “Also, it is our belief that the communications industry, under the leadership of the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, will experience more quantum leaps and retain its current leadership role in the telecommunications space”
In his reaction and comment, the new Perm Sec, Engr. Festus Yusuf Daudu said:
- “I want to thank NCC for its contribution to the Nigerian economy so far. I am not exaggerating about the achievements of NCC, in terms of contribution to GDP and how NCC’s effective regulatory role has been helping the economy in so many ways”
What you should know
- The BTS system is part of a GSM network that is responsible for the reception and transmission of radio signals from mobile phones.
- A Base Transceiver Station is a general description of equipment consisting of the telecommunication technology and the air interface of the mobile network (GSM, UMTS etc.).
- The deployment of the 3G and 4G base transceiver stations (BTS) increased from 30,000 to 53,460, in the last 5 years
- While the Fibre Optic Transmission cables expanded from 47,000km to 54,725km
- As at November, 2020, active telephony subscribers stood at 208 million with tele-density standing at 108.92%
- Active Internet subscriptions of 154.9 million were achieved with broadband penetration rate of 45.07%
- The number of subscriptions to DND service hit over 30 million as the service empowers Nigerians to be able to protect themselves from the menace of unsolicited text messages and calls.
Why this matters
Having more Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) is quite imperative for driving an improved broadband/telecoms service delivery to Nigerian subscribers.
The poor services currently experienced by many telephony subscribers, especially in areas not sufficiently covered by Base stations, will now be a thing of the past as even subscribers in the remotest rural areas can conveniently receive and make calls and as well as enjoy other subscription services, without hitches.
Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude exports resume as ExxonMobil lifts force majeure
ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil exports as production resumes.
ExxonMobil has lifted a force majeure on Nigeria’s Qua Iboe crude oil export terminal, as crude exports resume for the first time in almost six weeks after a fire at the terminal halted operations.
This is according to a company spokesman yesterday, who confirmed the company had lifted force majeure on Qua Iboe crude loadings.
Qua Iboe production started to ramp up to normal levels of 200,000 b/d in the past week, according to sources, with the release of both the February and March loading programs.
The VLCC Dalia was also in the process of loading a 1-million-barrel stem at the Qua terminal since January 21, 2021, according to data intelligence firm Kpler. This will be the first export of Qua Iboe since December 15, 2020, after a fire hit the facility and injured two workers.
The company has been under pressure since the closure and prices have taken a hit as a result of the disruption. S&P Global Platts last assessed the grade at a discount to Dated Brent of 50 cents/b, down from a premium against the benchmark in December.
Bonny Light, a mainstay Nigerian crude which typically trades at roughly the same level as Qua Iboe, was last assessed 30 cents/b higher.
What they are saying
One trader said: “If you get a cargo of Qua now it could be 50 cents to a dollar below Bonny even – a January cargo is completely out of cycle and the reliability issues mean people won’t touch it.”
Another trader stated that: “[The return of Qua Iboe] is not what West African crude assessments (WAF) differentials needed.”
What you should know
- Qua Iboe is one of Nigeria’s largest export grades, and is very popular among global refiners, with India, the US, Canada, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, and the Netherlands being key buyers.
- Qua Iboe is light sweet crude, which has a gravity of 36 API and sulfur content of 0.13%. The crude, produced from fields 20-40 miles off the coast of southeast Nigeria, is brought to shore at the Qua Iboe terminal via a seabed pipeline system.
- Indian demand has steadied following a buying spree late last year, and European demand has been hit by renewed coronavirus lockdowns in the region.
- Prices for Nigerian crude have suffered in recent weeks, even with lower supply due to the outage.
- February and March loading programs have been issued for Qua Iboe averaging 169,643 b/d and 153,226 b/d respectively.
- Production of this key grade ranged between 180,000-220,000 b/d in 2020, according to S&P Global Platts estimates.