James Emejo in Abuja
The total number of subscribers to the Global System of Mobile Communication (GSM) shrank to 148.68 million as at December 2015, compared to 149.78 million in the previous month, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated yesterday.
Nevertheless, the new figure represented an increase of over 12 million subscribers (12,004,756) or 8.78 percent relative to December 2015.
It said the drop in total subscribers was due to a declines in MTN (from 62.4 million subscribers to 61.2 million as well as Etisalat (from 23.4 million to 22.1 million) while Glo and Airtel witnessed rises in their number of subscribers.
The NBS added that on year on year basis however, the numbers of gsm subscribers rose from 136.6 million in December 2014 to 148.6 million in December 2015.
It said GSM internet subscriptions rose from 97.06 million subscribers at the end of Q3 2015 to 97.5 million in November before dropping to 97.03 million in December due to a decline in subscriptions in MTN while all other providers witnessed a rise in subscriptions.
According to the “Nigerian Telecommunications Sector: Summary Report for Q4 and Full Year 2015” which was released by the statistical agency, after July, “only Airtel experienced a consistent increase in the number of subscribers, and MTN and Etisalat ended the year with less subscribers than in April.”
It stated that mobile subscribers using GSM dominated and accounted for 98.45 percent of the total followed by the CDMA which accounted for 1.42 percent while the fixed wired and wireless platforms made up 0.08 percent and 0.04 percent respectively.
It added that the dominance of GSM users had increased slightly since December 2014, when 98.29 percent of subscribers used the technology type.
However, GSM users decreased slightly since the end of the third quarter in September, when 98.52 percent of subscribers used GSM technology.
The share of all other technology types also decreased between December 2014 and December 2015, it stated.
The NBS said:”Most of the increase in the number of subscribers was attributable to additional Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) subscriptions. The yearly increase between December 2015 and December 2014 was 8.78%, slightly higher than the growth in the overall number of subscriptions, but considerably higher than for other technology types.
It further stated that GSM remained the most popular subscription type, and that only a small fraction of subscriptions are for fixed lines (wireless or wired).