Emma Okonji

Globacom has maintained a lead position in data service offerings from 2015 to 2016, according to the figures for new internet customers released for 2016 by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), the telecoms industry regulator.
In the new industry figures showing the number of new data customers, each of the four major operators added to their subscription number in January 2016, with Globacom leading with 354,178 subscribers joining its internet customer base.
The figure, published on the website of the industry regulators, represents 94.7 per cent of the total number of 373,835 new internet customers for the four major operators.

While MTN recorded a drop in its data customer base with 1,705,878 internet users leaving its network in January. Etisalat lost 94,115 internet customers in January, and Airtel gained 19,657 new subscribers in the same month.
With the release of the January statistics, a clearer picture has emerged on how the operators fared over the last 12 months.

An analysis of the 12 months figures shows that Globacom added a total of 7,251,657 new internet users during the period which is 53 per cent of the total 13.644 million new customers who subscribed to internet services of the four major operators. Etisalat came second with a total of 5,431,190 new internet customers, while Airtel finished third with 961,548 new data customers in the 12 months period.

On the other hand, MTN recorded a net loss of 1,059,160 data subscribers in the last one year, as more data subscribers left the network than those who joined.
The January 2016 figures are a reflection of the trend witnessed in the last quarter of 2015.
A breakdown of the industry figures for that quarter showed that Globacom had 23,285,454 internet users in October, 24,952,559 in November and 25,082,066 in December, which is an addition of 3.2 million new internet subscribers in the quarter.

On the other hand MTN, Airtel and Etisalat all lost subscribers within the period. MTN which had a total of 41,835,294 internet subscribers at the beginning of October 2015 had 39,924,737 data subscribers at the end of December, a loss of almost two million customers.
Similarly, Airtel, which began the last quarter of 2015 with 17,730,955 internet customers ended with 16,835,952, a loss of nearly 900,000 subscribers.

The steady growth in the number of data subscribers on the Globacom network is said to be a result of its massive infrastructure including the Glo 1 undersea cable and the extensive fibre optic cable that crisscrosses the length and breadth of the country. These deliver unmatched capacity of data anywhere at the most affordable prices, according to Globacom, which also launched several attractive and user-friendly packages which offer a lot of appeal to data users.