Nigeria lost 4.95 million mobile subscriptions in the first five months of 2023. According to recent statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission, the total number of number subscriptions fell from 225.88 million as of January 2023 to 220.93 million as of May 2023. This is the third consecutive month a fall in total mobile subscriptions has been recorded since it hit a record hit of 226.84 million in February 2023.

Also, this is the first time since June 2021 that mobile subscriptions have fallen consistently. Between 2020 and 2021, a Federal Government policy that mandated telcos to link SIMs to National Identification Numbers affected the mobile industry and led to a steep decline in mobile subscriptions.

Of the telcos, MTN Nigeria lost the largest mobile subscription, falling from 91.95 million as of January to 85.59 million as of May. Airtel fell marginally from 60.56 million to 60.53 million. Globacom and 9mobile fare relatively better, rising from 60.34 million to 61.15 million and 13.03 million to 13.66 million respectively.

Also, teledensity, the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, fell to 115.91 per cent in May from 118.51 per cent in January.

In the first quarter, MTN said global macroeconomic factors, inflation, and cash shortages, among others, were affecting its subscribers.

MTN Nigeria’s Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, said, “We continued to experience headwinds in our operating environment in the first quarter of 2023.

“The impacts of the ongoing global macroeconomic and geopolitical developments on energy, food, and general inflation were exacerbated locally by petrol and cash shortages experienced during the period. This placed additional pressure on economic activity, consumers, and businesses.”

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