Active subscriptions across mobile networks of MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile rose by 0.4% to 220.5 million in July.
This was revealed in the latest industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The marginal gain was recorded after four months of steady decline in subscriptions.
As of June, active subscriptions across the mobile networks stood at 219.7 million, which shows that the country’s mobile subscriptions database grew by 770,889 in July.
An analysis of the operators’ data showed that the growth in the subscription database was buoyed by MTN, which gained 678,008 new subscriptions in the month under review.
With the growth in actively connected lines recorded by the operators, the country’s teledensity, which measures the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, also rose to 115.70 from 115.30% recorded in June.
According to NCC, the teledensity is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million.
How the operators fared
The NCC’s statistics show that MTN, the largest operator by subscriber number, boosted the total industry database with a 678,008 increase in its subscriptions.
This brought its total active subscriptions to 85.3 million from 84.6 million it recorded in June 2023.
9mobile also gained 176, 105 new subscriptions, which brought its total active connected lines to 13.7 million from 13.5 million in June. Similarly, Globacom added 23,565 new subscriptions in the month to record 61.4 million total subscriptions.
However, Airtel, the third-largest operator by subscriber number lost subscriptions in the month. Airtel’s database plunged by 106,789 in the month under review to 60 million.
Disconnection of under 18 subscribers
The slight gain in July indicated that the mobile operators may have completed the disconnection of lines registered by under 18 subscribers, which led to the steady decline in subscriptions between March and June this year.
The NCC had in recent guidelines reviewed the age of owing a SIM upward from 16 to 18 years, which means that young Nigerians under 18 cannot register a SIM.
Explaining why it revised the age of acquiring a SIM upward from 16 to 18, NCC in a statement released when the regulation was first announced in October 2021 said it was aimed at protecting minors in the country.
The Commission said this was also in accordance with the Nigerian constitution, which recognizes 18 as the age at which a Nigerian can enter a contractual relationship.
The Commission further explained that SIM acquisition is a contract between service providers and their subscribers, which requires the subscriber to have proper legal status, be of mature mind, and be rational enough to bear specific responsibilities, obligations, and liabilities imposed by a contract.