Telecommunication companies lost 20.83 million subscribers in the first half of 2021, according to industry statistics released recently by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
Using the industry Average Revenue Per User of N1,420 for 2020, as stated by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, revenue lost over that time period was N17.88bn.
Total number of subscribers fell from 187,275,547 in January 2021 to 187,275,547 in June 2021.
MTN lost 5,464,322 subscribers. Globacom lost 4,463,962 while Airtel lost 2,759,506 subscribers in the first half of the year.
Collectively, the telcos lost 11.08 million data subscribers so far this year as the number of data subscribers fell from 150,898,122 in January 2021 to 139,814,913 in June 2021.
In December 2020, the Federal Government banned the sale of new SIM cards because of a directive to link National Identity Numbers with SIM cards.
Since then, telcos have been losing subscribers. However, since the FG recently lifted the ban on SIM card sales, subscriber base has begun to grow again.
Unlike the previous months, where subscriber base shrunk, it grew in June. It rose from 186,695,465 in May to 187,275,547, which is the first sign of growth for the year.
In its half year report, MTN said, “Mobile subscribers declined by 7.6 million to 68.9 million, impacted by the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations.”
The company added that it was actively supporting the government’s NIN enrolment programme with more than 380 points of enrolment active across the country.
On its part, Airtel in its quarter report said, “New customer acquisitions were barred until significant progress had been made on linking the active customer base with verified NINs.
“Natural churn in the customer base led to a loss of two million active mobile customers in Nigeria in the first quarter of the year (following on from 2.5 million customer loss in the final quarter of the year to 31 March 2021).”
The company added that it had made significant progress in capturing existing NINs and building a database in collaboration with the National Identity Management Commission.