Nigeria’s active phone lines hit 109.4m

The number of active telephone lines in use in Nigeria has hit 109.4 million, according to the latest subscriber data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission.

The data obtained by National Mirror yesterday, showed that active telephone subscriptions increased from 107.3 million active lines in September to reach 109.4 million at the end of October.

This means the telecoms operators added over 2.1 million new telephone lines on their networks in October.

Analysis of the data showed that the Global System for Mobile Communications operators were the sole contributors to the current increase in active subscriber base.

According to the statistics, the GSM operators, including MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat increased their combined subscriptions from 103.6 million in September to 105.9 million in October.

The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operators such as Visafone, Starcomms, Multi-Links and Zoom Mobile further experienced a fall in their subscriber base from 3.2 million to 3.1 million in September and October respectively.

Following the trend on the CDMA networks, fixed wired and wireless network operators also record a decline in their meagre active subscriptions from 474,345 telephone lines to 454,644 lines during the same period.

From beginning of 2012, GSM operators have continued to record rapid increase on their networks while the CDMA and fixed networks have consistently witnessed a decline monthon- month.

According to the NCC data, while active mobile subscriptions on GSM networks increased from 91 million in January to 101.4 million at the end of August; that of the CDMA operators declined from 4.4 million to 3.3 million during the eight month period.

It was learnt that the GSM active subscriptions standing at 91 million in January, increased to 92 million in February and 94.5 million at the end of March.

The GSM subscriptions continued upward growth reaching 96.6 million in April and in May, the figure grew to 97.5 million active subscriptions.

In June, July and August, the combined active GSM subscriber base increased to 98.3 million; 99.4 million and 101.4 million respectively.

However, active subscriber base on CDMA networks was hovering around slightly over four million between February and March but further declined to 3.9 million in April.

The figure further plunged to 3.7 million in May; 3.5 million in June and in July, it fell to 3.4 million and finally to 3.3 million at the end of August.

On the fixed lines networks, the subscriber figure which stood at 688,333 lines at the beginning of the year had, by the end of August, reduced to 488,088 lines and now standing at 454,644 lines.

According to the NCC statistics uploaded on the regulator’s official website, though the active telecoms subscriptions now stand at 109.4 million, the actual connected telephone lines in the country stands at 188 million.

Over the years, only the GSM segment of Nigeria’s telecoms companies have continued to witness impressive performance with CDMA and fixed line networks facing perpetual decline in subscriber base.

However, analysts have expressed mixed reactions over the viability and success of a merger arrangement being put together among the CDMA operators – Starcomms, Multi-Links and MTS Wireless.

The merger of the three CDMA is expected to raise the performance bar of the CDMA industry where GSM players have also kicked them out of the business, due to the limitations of the CDMA’s technology.

At present, the CDMA operator that has the highest subscriber base in the country is Visafone with about two million lines, whereas the GSM network with the lowest subscriber base in the country, Etisalat, which came into the country barely three years ago, has around 14 million active telephone lines on its network.