The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) reports that in the first quarter of 2024, active voice subscribers in Nigeria’s telecom industry decreased by 2.4%.

The National Identification Number-Subscriber Identity Module linking policy is still being enforced by the Nigeria Communications Commission and the telecoms, which is the reason for this reduction.

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The reduction in voice subscribers

In Q1 2024, there were 219,304,281 active voice subscriptions, down from 224,713,710 in Q4 2023, according to the NBS report. This represents a loss of 5,409,429 active voice subscriptions.

“The total number of active voice subscribers in Q1 2024 was 219,304,281, down from 226,161,713 reported in Q1 2023, indicating a growth rate of -3.03 per cent,” the report stated, highlighting the year-over-year fall.

The bureau reports that Abia State saw the most significant year-over-year drop in active subscribers, falling from 4,074,115 in Q1 2023 to 3,756,231 in Q1 2024, or 7.8%.

With 18.84 million members overall, Lagos State is in first place, closely followed by Ogun State (9.53 million). With 9.07 million internet users, Kano State ranked fourth, followed by Oyo State, with 11,158,965 active memberships.

MTN maintains its top spot

With 81,799,666 active voice subscribers, MTN dominated the Nigerian telecom industry and cemented its position as the nation’s top telecom provider.

GLO emerged in third place with 62,191,448 active voice subscriptions, closely followed by Airtel with 63,357,061 active subscriptions.

In Q1 2024, EMTS (9mobile) had 11,657,703 active voice subscriptions, while SMILE maintained 175,711 active voice subscriptions.

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The directives to bar subscribers without NIN linkage

Mobile network providers, including MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, were mandated by the telecom regulator to install a full network bar on any phone line whose users had not yet submitted their NINs by February 28, 2024. Lines containing NINs that were submitted but not verified were likewise prohibited.

For lines linked to five or more unconfirmed NINs, the deadline for blocking lines with unverified NINs was March 29, 2024; for lines linked to fewer than five unverified NINs, it was April 15, 2024.

In its financial report for the first quarter of 2024, MTN Nigeria revealed that it had blocked 8.6 million lines, and Airtel Nigeria said that roughly 5.7 million of its customers still hadn’t connected their SIM cards to their NINs.