Telecom Operators record 3.69% Growth in 4Q – NCC

Official statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission shows that performance of Telecom companies improved in the fourth quarter of 2017

TELECOMMUNICATION operators in Nigeria have recorded a growth performance of 3.69 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017. Statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, showed that MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9Mobile growth performance increased from 2.22 percent in the third quarter to 3.69 percent in the last quarter.

According to statistics from NCC website, MTN, whose growth went down by 5.25 percent in third quarter resurrected with 5.25 percent growth in the last quarter of the year. For Globacom, from 0.16 percent loss in third quarter, it bounced back to growth with 2.19 percent in fourth quarter.

Airtel happened to be the only operator that maintained a fairly stable growth, moving from 1.49 percent in third quarter to 7.53 percent in fourth quarter.

Apparently due to the challenge of losing majority shareholder over a protracted $1.2 billion loan, 9Mobile, formerly Etisalat, has been on a steep fall from 4.54 percentage growth losses to 1.14 percentage losses in the last quarter of the year under review.

Further analysis of the statistics showed that internet penetration increased marginally to 98.3 million in December 2017 against 94.8 million recorded in November. This means an increase of 3.57 million. Airtel, MTN and Globacom earned more internet subscribers during the month in review, while 9Mobile internet users dipped.

The data breakdown revealed that MTN gained the most with 2, 642.666 new internet users, raising its subscription in December to 36,069,697, from 33, 426,931 in November. Airtel added 911,040 new internet users in December amounting to 23,985,203 users against 23,074, 163 subscribers in November.

Globacom also gained 87,538 new users in December as the figure recorded was 26,997,917 against 26,910,279 in November. In the period under review, 9Mobile however, unlike others, fell by 68,341 Internet users in December, slashing its subscription to 11,407,180.

The operators reported the growth despite losing about 10 million customers in the first three quarter of the year. The statistics showed that the operators, which had their growth contracted in the first three quarters of the year by negative 8.15 percent; 6.15 percent, and 2.22 percent respectively, moved positively to 3.69 percent in the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, Umar Danbatta, executive vice chairman, NCC, speaking from Singapore, hailed the new licensing of Infrastructure Companies, InfraCos. He also assured that the new licensees would improve Nigeria’s broadband landscape. He described the move as a key step to ensuring the deployment of infrastructure for the telecommunications sector.

At a panel session of the International Institute of Communications, IIC, and Regional, Telecommunications and Media Forum in Singapore, Danbatta noted that the commission had to develop innovative solutions to fast-track infrastructure deployment with a view to deepening the nation’s broadband penetration.

The board of the NCC had recently issued two additional Infraco licences to Zinox Technology Limited for South East, and Brinks Integrated Solutions Limited for North East, bringing the total number of Infracos licensed so far to four. The NCC boss, therefore, called for the development of human capital that is in tune with the dynamism of the industry to achieve the desired balanced regulatory intervention.

“Regulators must consider the idea of having in-house Research and Development units that reach out, and collaborate with researchers, academia in order to align and be abreast of technological innovations and trends,” he said.

Also, in a paper titled: Building Institutional Capacity and Human Capital: How A Regulator Builds Capacity That Fits For Purpose In A Rapidly Moving Environment, Danbatta told the gathering that the NCC would continue to ensure that its institutional structure remained pliable enough to tackle emerging technologies and exigencies of the telecommunications sector.

He said the commission’s performance had attracted the recognition of numerous reputable institutions both locally and internationally, especially in the last two years. “In 2017, the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, Nigeria reviewed the Commission’s structure, processes, and work culture, scored it a platinum category and recommended it a model for other public institutions in the country to emulate,” he said.

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