From: Basil Obasi, Abuja
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) latest report on telecommunications sector contributed N1.4 billion in the 4th quarter of 2016, as total number of subscribers continued to increase rapidly over the past decade; growing from 19,519,154 subscribers as at the end of 2005 to a total of 154,529,780 subscribers by December 2016.
The NBS report released titled: “Nigeria Telecommunications Sector Summary Report” released yesterday, stated that total number of subscribers by the end of 2005 there were 19,519,154 but by the end of 2015 there were 151,017,244, which is equivalent to an increase of 13,149,809 every year.
According to the report, the sector’s contribution to GDP decrease by 1.8 percent from the N1.58 billion to about N1.4 billion, while as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016, there were 154,529,780 subscribers, compared with 153,299,535 in September 2015, which represents a quarterly increase of 0.80%.
The report stated that due to differing seasonal patterns, telecommunications tends to account for the lowest share of GDP in the third quarter, stressing that the share of telecommunications in total real GDP had declined throughout 2010 to 2014, but for the last six quarters growth in telecommunications has been higher, meaning the trend has reversed.
The NBS said: “Growth in the telecommunications sector has been declining recently, possibly resulting from high market penetration leaving less room for large expansion, adding that although the growth in the sector remained positive, in contrast with the economy as a whole, year on year growth nevertheless dropped in real terms from 1.5% in the previous quarter to 0.9%, the lowest rate since 2011 Q3” it stated.
The NBS also noted that the yearly increase in total subscriber numbers was 2.33%, which is slightly higher than the yearly increase of 1.75% recorded in the previous quarter.
Meanwhile, the NBS report stated that mobile subscribers using the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) dominate the total subscription, accounting for 99.74 percent of the total subscription in December 2016, followed by Core Division Multiple Access (CDMA) with 0.14% of the total; fixed wired had 0.08 percent while Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) accounted and wireless accounted for 0.02% respectively.
At the end of the last quarter of 2016, Etisalat had 20,809,889 subscribers; Airtel had 22,534,800 while Globacom and MTN had 37,357,843 and 61,840,461 subscribers respectively, and recorded quarter on quarter growth of 1.06% and 2.12%.
Broadly speaking, the year on year performance was similar to the quarterly performance of GSM providers; Etisalat was the only provider to record a decline in subscriber numbers, of 1,351,401, or 6.10%. Airtel gained 1,848,108 subscribers, a yearly increase of 5.73%; while MTN gained 588,704 subscribers, an increase of 0.96% year on year.
The largest yearly increase in the number of subscribers however was Globacom, who recorded an increase of 4,358,459 subscribers, or 13.21%, accounting for 80% of the total increase in GSM subscribers, despite MTN remaining the larger provider.
As at December 2016, GSM subscribers were 154,124,602, an increase of 5,443,240, or 3.66%; the total number of GSM relative to December 2015 with MTN accounting for 40% of subscribers, Globacom 24%; Airtel had 22% while Etisalat accounted for 14% of subscribers.
Of GSM users, a total of 91,880,032 had an internet subscription with one of the four carriers of Airtel, Etisalat, Globacom and MTN in December 2016.
“The dominance of GSM users has increased since December 2015 when 96.22% of subscribers used this technology type; largely as a result of the continuing decline of CDMA users”, the report stated.