The MTN Group, Africa’s biggest mobile-network operator by sales, has outshined rivals in the mobile internet space as total subscriber jumped 16.12 percent to end 2017 year.
The company started 2017 with 31 million subscribers and ended the year with 36 million subscribers, which represents a total gain of 5.05 million internet subscriber.
MTN, which controls 36.70 percent of the entire GSM subscribers in the country, has weathered the storm caused by a $1 billion fine imposed by regulators as the company reverted to profit.
Analysts say the company’s leverage of the Nigerian market is due to its copious investment on telecommuication infrastructure across the country.
Airtel, the 3rd largest, added 4.36 million subscribers at the beginning of the year to 19.6 million subscribers and ending 2017 with 23.98 million subscribers.
Globacom, the 2nd largest GSM operator is a laggard as it lost 0.25 percent or 78455 thousand subscribers of the total subscribers if 27.07 million at the beginning of the year and ended with 27 million subscribers 9Mobile (formerly known as Etisalat) brought up the rear, losing 2.22 million subscribers in 2017. The troubled telco started the year with 13.5 million subscribers and ended with 11.3 million subscribers.
9Mobile was taken over by 13 Nigerian banks over a $1.3 billion it took 4 years as the company was unable to service the loans due to currency crisis. The telcom could have been placed on receivership save for the intervention of the National Communications Commission (NCC) and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Banks involved in the loan deal include: Zenith Bank, GT Bank, First Bank, UBA, Fidelity Bank, Access Bank, Ecobank, FCMB, Stanbic IBTC Bank and Union Bank.
Experts are of the view that a lot of customers dumped their 9mobile lines and switched to other networks as fear or uncertainties over the future of the telco heightens.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy added 7.07 million subscribers in 2017, bringing the total number of subscribers to 98.39 million.