James Emejo in Abuja
The mobile telecommunications subscribers’ base rose to 154.53 million as at the end of the fourth quarter of 2016 compared to 153.29million subscribers in September same period, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), stated tuesday.
This represented a 0.8 per cent increase in mobile subscribers.
The NBS in its report on the telecoms sector further stated that over the past decade, the total number of subscribers increased rapidly, noting that at the end of 2005, there were 19.51 million subscribers.
But by the end of 2015, however, there were 151.07 million subscribers which is equivalent to an increase of 13.14 million subscribers every year, it added.
However, the NBS report stated that growth in the sector has been declining more recently, as a result of high market penetration leaving less room for large expansion.
It said: “In December 2016 – the end of the fourth quarter, there were 154,529,780 subscribers, compared with 153,299,535 in September 2015, which represents a quarterly increase of 0.80 per cent.
“Growth had continued unabated since April, before which subscriber numbers had fallen for several months. The yearly increase in total subscriber numbers was 2.33 per cent, which is slightly higher than the yearly increase of 1.75 per cent recorded in the previous quarter.”
It said the largest quarterly increase recorded by any GSM provider was Airtel, whose number increased by 4.09 per cent from 32.77 million to 34.11 million subscribers.
By contrast, Etisalat according to the report, recorded its largest quarterly decrease, declining by 7.65 per cent to 20.81 million subscribers as against 22.53 million subscribers in the third quarter.
It added that Etisalat was the only company to record a decrease in the fourth quarter of last year.
The report stated that Globacom and MTN had 37.35 million and 61.84 million subscribers respectively, and recorded quarter on quarter growth of 1.06 per cent and 2.12 per cent.