Number two mobile phone company by subscriber base, Airtel Nigeria has seen its position coming under threat from rival Glo Mobile, the number three player which is inching closer as the Nigeria telecoms market crossed the 148,398,117 active phone connections mark.
The intense competition for market share among Nigerian telcos is coming amid gradual growth broadband penetration to 22 per cent, according to the telecoms industry regulator.
Meanwhile, the Airtel -Globacom Nigeria spat is one of the key highlights of the new operator data for the Nigerian telecoms market released by the industry umpire which shows MTN Nigeria in a comfortable lead by subscriber numbers with over 53.4 million active lines at Q1 2018 of overall active phone connections mark.
According to the February 2018 operator data obtained by Technology Times from from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Airtel which retained the number two spot has 38,326,579 subscribers while its competitor, Globacom, finished with 38,228,018 subscribers within the period under review.
Also Internet users in the country increased to 100. 9 million in February from 100.2 million in January, according to the latest market update from the telecoms regulator.
The NCC data shows that Airtel and MTN gained more Internet subscribers during the month in review, while Glo and 9mobile were the big losers. The breakdown revealed that MTN gained the most with over 762,366 new Internet users, increasing its subscription in January to almost 38 million from 37 million recorded in January.
Airtel also gained 247,216 new Internet users in February, amounting to 25,075,110 users as against 24,827,894 users in January.
However, 9mobile lost 146,034 Internet users in February, decreasing its subscription to 11,132,153 as against 11,278,187 recorded in January. The data showed in February that Globacom lost 193,127 Internet users, decreasing its subscription to 26,733,989 from the 26,927,116 recorded in January.
In a related development, Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has told journalists in Lagos that the telecoms regulator has achieved milestones by licensing four Infracos (Infrastructure Service Providers), and also noted that a report by the International Telecommunications Union’s (ITU) report showed that Nigeria’s broadband penetration had reached 22% with 30% being the target set by the National Broadband Plan by 2018.
Danbatta added that a World Bank study had concluded that a 10% point increase in fixed broadband penetration would increase GDP growth by 1.21% in developed economies and 1.38% in developing ones.