The number of mobile subscriptions in Nigeria grew by 23.48 million from January to November, 2022, the latest industry statistics from the Nigerian Communication Commission has shown.

This pushes the total number of mobile subscriptions in the country to 218.61 million, a new record high. MTN remains the largest contributor to mobile subscriptions with 86.44 million subscriptions, followed by Globacom with 59.95 million subscriptions.

Airtel has 59.38 million mobile subscriptions, while 9mobile has 12.84 million. According to telecommunication companies, the reason for sustained growth in mobile subscriptions can be linked to a restriction on outgoing calls on SIMs that have not been linked with their National Identification Numbers.

In its third-quarter release, MTN’s Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, had said, “As a result, the average daily gross connection was 48.1 per cent above the pre-directive level, partly driven by the cohort of subscribers who were initially restricted and opted to register new SIMs.”

In April, the Federal Government asked telcos to enforce compliance with its National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module policy and restrict outgoing calls on all unlinked SIMs.

In a joint statement signed by the Director of Public Affairs of the NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, and the Head, Corporate Communications at the Nigeria Identity Management Commission, Mr Kayode Adegoke, the government said, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the implementation of the policy with effect from April 4, 2022. Consequently, the Federal Government has directed all telcos to strictly enforce the policy on all SIMs issued (existing and new) in Nigeria.

“Outgoing calls will subsequently be barred for telephone lines that have not complied with the NIN-SIM linkage policy from April 4, 2022.”

Nigeria has the largest mobile population in Africa and is expected to continue to grow. GSMA, the global body for telcos, attributes mobile subscription growth to the country’s young population.

It explained that many individuals in the country are under 18 and are crossing into adulthood and subscribing to mobile services. It noted that 18 million new Nigerians will become unique telecom subscribers by 2025.

Speaking on the role of mobile connectivity, GSMA said, “In 2021, mobile technologies and services generated around eight per cent of GDP across Sub-Saharan Africa, a contribution that amounted to almost $140bn of economic value added. The mobile ecosystem also supported more than 3.2 million jobs (directly and indirectly) and made a substantial contribution to the funding of the public sector, with $16bn raised through taxes on the sector. By 2025, mobile’s contribution will grow by $65bn (to almost $155bn), as the countries in the region increasingly benefit from the improvements in productivity and efficiency brought about by the increased take-up of mobile services.”





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