Nigeria’s active telephone subscriptions slide by 6.7%

Active telephone lines on telecoms networks in the country fell from over 120 million to 114.7 million, representing a record 5.6 million lines at the end of July, 2013. In the meantime, this has been partly attributed to the uptake of mobile number portability, which may have been taking tolls on telephone subscriber base in Nigeria. According to official government data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission, more than 5.6 million active telephone lines went redundant in the month of July alone.

The data released by the telecoms umpire yesterday showed that from about 120.3 million active telephone lines as at the end of June, active phone lines fell to 114.7 million at the end of July. The sharp decline represents a 6.7 per cent reduction in active telephone lines on all the telecoms networks in the country.

These include the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators, the Code Division Multiple Access operators as well as the fixed line networks. But industry analysts say the decline may be as a result of the uptake in mobile number portability service.

“The sharp decline in active telecoms subscriber base may not be unconnected with the activities around mobile number portability where people with multiple Lines are dropping some of their telephone lines and then concentrate on using just only one line, which they can easily port from one network to another,” an NCC source told National Mirror in Abuja yesterday.

A telecoms subscriber and industry analyst, Mr. Femi Adesanya, who said he had dropped two of his three lines on account of his using one line to port from network to another, also said that “The GSM lines are being dropped by some subscribers on account of their not being used may have contributed to the the increase in the number of inactive telephone lines.”

Meanwhile, the active subscriber base decline, affected only the subscriber base of GSM operators such as MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat, which are the operators offering porting services in the country currently. The NCC had, at the launch of the MNP on April 22 this year, disclosed that the porting service will start with the GSM companies and subsequently extended to CDM operators. This means operators such as Visafone, Starcomms, Multi- Links and the moribund Zoom Mobile are currently excluded from providing MNP.

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