MTN Lost 1.8 million Internet Subscribers due to SIM Deactivation Saga

An estimated 791,474 mobile Internet users on telecom networks in Nigeria went inactive in December, according to a data from the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The Commission in the report said that Internet user database on the networks of global system for mobile communications (GSM) operators crashed from 97,824,017 in November to 97,032,543 Internet users in December.

However, analyst of the data revealed that MTN was the loser of the Internet subscribers, though the telecoms network has the largest subscriber-base of 40.8 million as at last November, but this fell to 39 million in December.

Other telecoms networks such as Etisalat, Globacom and Airtel increased their Internet subscriber-base from 15,161,307 to 15,189,788; 24,952,559 to 5,082,066 and 16,837,282 to 16,835,952 between November and December respectively.

Meanwhile, the loss of 791,474 Internet subscribers on MTN network has been traced to the NCC’s directive asking the telecoms company to deactivate over five million improperly unregistered Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) lines on its network in the second quarter of 2015.

Internet subscribers on the mobile networks has consistently increased from January 2015 through November, but recorded its decline in December.

According to the NCC data, mobile Internet subscriber stood at 81.8 million in January and this increased to 83.2 million, 85.3 million and 86.9 million in February, March and April respectively.

From May through to September, the figure continued its upward trend to reach 88.1 million; 92.6 million; 93.4 million; 95.2 million and 97 million in that order.

Also, in October, November and December, the data stood at 97.5 million; 97.8 million but fell to 97 million on account of most hitherto active Internet users on MTN network affected by the SIM deactivation crisis.

Meanwhile, on technology- by-technology basis, the latest NCC data shows that GSM operators, which had 149.8 million active lines in November, only had 148.6 million at the end of December, a development, which industry analysts also traced to MTN’s SIM deactivation saga.

Culled from: Today

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