NIGERIA – The National Bureau of Statistics has revealed that the number of active voice subscribers rose by 2.96 per cent from 174.02 million in the second quarter to 179.17 million in the third quarter of 2019.

Although it has faced several challenging years, with rapid currency depreciation and a macroeconomic slowdown weighing on profitability, Nigeria’s ICT sector remains a critical non-oil growth driver.

It is also a major contributor to the economy, supported by a sizeable young population and the rapid adoption of mobile internet services.

Dominated by four large mobile operators (MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and Etisalat) the telecoms industry remains on a steady growth trajectory, as rising smartphone penetration and investment in mobile internet networks supports a shift towards data-driven growth models.

The bureau stated that a total of 123.16 million subscribers were active on the Internet compared to 122,673,623 in the second quarter of 2019.

This, it noted represents an increase of 0.40 per cent growth in Internet subscriptions quarter on quarter.

In the IT sector, government efforts to boost broadband penetration have begun to gather steam, although the country will face a number of challenges in achieving its ambitious mid-term expansion targets owing to issues in deploying new fibre-optic infrastructure.

In the report, Lagos State accounted for the highest number of active subscribers, registering 23.56 million active voice subscribers within the period.

The state which is home to the country’s largest city and economic hub was closely followed by Ogun and Kano States with 10.63 million and 6.9 million active voice subscribers respectively.

On the other hand, the Bureau said Bayelsa and Ebonyi states had the least number of subscribers with 925,489 and 1.63 million active voice subscribers respectively.

The report further indicated that MTN had the highest share of voice subscription, closely followed by Globacom and Airtel respectively.

Similarly, it said MTN had the highest share of Internet subscription and followed by Airtel and Globacom respectively.

MTN is the eighth largest mobile subscriber in the world and has over 232 million active subscribers. Its Nigerian subsidiary is the most lucrative of all the 21 subsidiaries that it operates in Africa and Middle East.