The number of mobile subscribers in the northern geo-political regions in Nigeria increased by 7.9 million new mobile subscribers in 2020. This is according to the latest Telecom data report, released by the National Bureau of Statistics.
The report revealed that the northern region made of 13 states recorded a 7.96 million new mobile subscribers in the year under review from 51.52 million recorded in 2019 to stand at 59.48 million in 2020. This represents a 15.5% increase in a year.
Generally, the number of mobile subscribers increased by 19.9 million subscribers from 184.7 million recorded in 2019 to 204.6 million in 2020. This increase can be attributed to the increased usage of mobile gadgets and the internet in 2020 due to the covid-19 induced lockdown which necessitated a work from home policy by most organisations.
Also, most businesses were forced to shut down during this period, including transportation, leaving mobile phone usage as a coping mechanism and the only means to reach out to relatives and friends.
The South-West region of the country, consisting of 6 states accounts for 28.5% of the mobile subscribers in Nigeria, with 58.37 million subscribers as at Q4 2020. The number of subscribers in the region increased by 3.62 million in 2020, indicating an increase of 6.11% in a year.
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Lagos State tops the list in this region with a total of 24.88 million subscribers as at Q4 2020, while it recorded an of 1.33 million subscribers in the year 2020.
Ogun State follows with a total mobile subscriber base of 12.01 million, while Oyo State total mobile subscribers as at Q4 2020 stood at 10.45 million.
Others include; Osun (4.67 million), Ondo (4.49 million), and Ekiti State with 1.86 million subscribers.
The 8 states in the North-west region of the country accounted for 20.8% of the total mobile subscriber base in Nigeria with 42.53 million subscribers. This represents an increase of 16.9% from 36.39 million recorded as of Q4 2019 to 42.53 million subscribers as of Q4 2020.
Kano State increased its mobile subscriber base from 10.99 million recorded as of Q4 2019 to 12.67 million mobile subscribers at the end of the year.
Kaduna State follows with a total subscriber base of 8.71 million subscribers, growing its numbers by 582,640 from 8.12 million recorded in the reference period.
The number of mobile subscribers in Katsina State stood at 5.69 million as of Q4 2020. An increase of 945,390 new subscribers from 4.75 million subscribers recorded as of Q4 2019.
The North Central region, also known as the middle belt area, which houses the Federal Capital Territory added 6.58 million new mobile subscribers in 2020 to stand at 37.07 million subscribers as at Q4 2020. The region accounts for 18.1% of the total subscribers in the country.
The Federal Capital territory tops the list with a total subscriber base of 9.01 million, a 3.3 million increase compared to 5.7 million recorded in 2019.
Niger State followed with a total of 6.53 million subscribers compared to 6.22 million recorded in the previous period.
Benue State, as at Q4 2020 boasts of a total subscriber base of 5.03 million, an increase of 1.69 million compared to 3.34 million recorded as of Q4 2019.
Others on the list include; Kwara (4.54 million), Nassarawa (4.13 million), Plateau (3.93 million), and Kogi State (3.91 million).
The south-south geo-political region of Nigeria with 6 states accounted for 14.5% of the total mobile subscribers in the country. As of Q4 2020, the total mobile subscribers in the south-south region stood at 29.6 million, an increase of 15.2% from 25.7 million recorded as of Q4 2019.
Rivers tops the list in the region with total mobile subscribers of 7.46 million as of Q4 2020. It recorded an increase of 512,482 in the year 2020.
Edo State followed closely with 7.1 million subscribers and Delta State with 6.91 million subscribers.
The region accounted for 9.8% of the total mobile subscribers in the country with a total subscriber base of 20.1 million, representing an 8.7% decrease compared to 21.98 million recorded in 2019.
Anambra State increased its number of mobile subscribers by 1.12 million to stand at 5.79 million as of Q4 2020.
Imo State followed with a total mobile subscriber of 4.53 million, Enugu State however recorded a decline of 1.29 million to stand at 4.16 million.
Abia State (3.77 million) and Ebonyi (1.82 million).
With a total mobile subscriber base of 16.96 million, the region accounted for 8.3% of the total subscribers in the country.
Bauchi State tops the list with a total subscriber base of 4.02 million, followed by Borno with 3.96 million subscribers.
Others include; Adamawa State (3.54 million), Taraba (2.73 million), and Gombe (2.71 million).
What this means
The increase in the number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria in 2020 is a reflection of the impact of the covid-19 lockdown on the Nigerian telecommunication sector. During the lockdown, most Nigerians were forced to work from home, increasing the need to reach out to colleagues and family through phone calls, hence increasing mobile subscriber usage in the country.