Nigeria's leading telecommunication companies Airtel, MTN, Glo, and 9mobile lost over 8 million data subscribers in the second quarter of the year.
According to data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the four leading telecom leaders lost 1.27 million data subscribers in May 2021, compared to the 3.17 million they lost in April 2021 and the 3.55 million subscribers lost in March 2021.
The total number of mobile subscribers of the four major telecommunications outfits dropped from 141.41 million as of April to 140.13 million by the end of May 2021. It is noteworthy that the data subscriber base in Nigeria has been on a persistent downturn since the NIN-SIM ban.
Airtel lost a total of 2.84 million data subscribers within the period of review, as its data subscribers dropped from 38,956,026 recorded as of the beginning of March to 36,120,443 by the end of May 2021.
As of February 2021, Airtel had a total mobile subscriber base of 51.43 million but had dropped to 50.03 million at the end of May 2021.
MTN Nigeria lost a total of 2.64 million data subscribers between March and May this year. At the end of May 2021, the telco giant had 60,202,402 data subscribers, down from 61,575,323 and 62,843,182 it recorded as at the end of March and February respectively.
Between March 2021 and May 2021, the telco giant lost a total of 3.3 million mobile subscribers. This represents a 4.27% reduction in data subscribers.
At the end of May 2021, MTN had 74,044,687 mobile subscribers, accounting for 39.7% of the total subscriber base in the country.
The others, Globacom and 9mobile, also experienced the heat, as they lost a total of 2.112 million and 415,905 data subscribers respectively within the same period.
Apart from the SIM registration saga, the decline in data subscription can also be linked to a few other factors, one of them being the growing internet service provider market. Many Nigerians have opted for alternative ISPs such as Smile, SpectraNet, and others as they have been dissatisfied with either price or the internet speed of the regular telecom companies.
Another possible reason attributable is the growing poverty rate in Africa's largest economy. The average Nigerian now spends 101 percent of their earnings on food, which will therefore bring opportunity cost to expenditure such as data subscription.
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