President of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) Mr. Demola Aladekomo
By Emma Okonji
Subscribers to Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) operations have continued to reduce in number, just as GSM subscribers are adding to their numbers, according to the recent subscriber data report released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The report puts the active subscriber number for General System for Mobile Communications (GSM), CDMA and the Fixed Wired and Wireless operations at 101 million as at April 2012, an increase from the 99 million active subscribers’ number in March 2012 and the 96 million active subscribers’ number in February 2012.
A breakdown of the total 101 million active subscriber number shows that GSM active subscribers reached 96.6 million, up from 94.5 million in March this year, CDMA active subscribers dropped to 3.9 million, from four million in March this year, while active subscribers to Fixed Wired and Wireless lines also dropped to 566,758, from 599,335 in March 2012.
According to the NCC’s subscriber data report that was published on its website, total active subscribers in the month of April 2012 was 101 million, in March it was 99 million and in February same year, it was 96 million.
The subscriber data report clearly shows that while the GSM operators are making substantial increase in the number of subscriptions, the CDMA operators are losing their subscribers as a result of dwindling market situation with CDMA operations in the country.
CDMA operators have been facing some challenges in network rollout and have resorted to data service offering, which appears to be sustaining the few ones that are still managing to survive in the Nigerian telecoms competitive market.
Most CDMA operators have gone underground, as a result of low patronage and the few ones left are weighing the options of merger or outright sale.
Experts have seen the direction of failure to which CDMA operators are heading to, and have advised that the operators expand their operational services to include unlimited mobility service offering or merge with the GSM operators.
President of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) Mr. Demola Aladekomo, told THISDAY that there was need for CDMA operators to seek possible bailout option before their extinction from the telecoms market, which he said was imminent, if quick actions were not taken by the operators and government.
According to him, “landlines are gone, old technologies are dead and buried. CDMA can only survive through mobile.”
A release from MTN Group in South Africa, said it has 42 million active Nigerian subscribers. It therefore follows that Etisalat, Globacom and Airtel should have a combined 42 million to attain the other 50 per cent market share in the Nigerian telecoms market, leaving few CDMA and Fixed Wired and Wireless line operators with insignificant market share in the telecoms market.
Etisalat had made an official financial report disclosure that it has 11 million subscribers in Nigeria. The Airtel last quarter report stated 17.7 million active subscriptions, and Globacom is suspected to have over 20 million subscribers on its network.