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Regional analysis of the telecom sector’s voice subscribers (Part 1)

The Nigerian telecommunications sector, a subsector of the service sector, has through technological advancement and introduction of innovative services of GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) thrived tremendously across the geopolitical zones in Nigeria in 2018.

The industry is a major contributor to the growth of other sectors of the economy as it fosters businesses across-the-board and cross-borders. By the end of 2018, telecoms contributed 77.42 percent to the information and communication sub sectoral GDP and 9.46 per cent to national GDP.

Through mobile connectivity, the telecommunications industry continues to improve the welfare of millions of Nigerians particularly through new digital possibilities. Advancement in the industry concurrently tip the scale for the increasing mobile penetration in Nigeria, as the number of active voice and active internet subscribers’ bases grew enormously in Q4 2018 by 19.13 per cent and 13.54 percent year-on-year (YoY) respectively.

Amongst the major networks in Nigeria in Q4 2018, MTN active coverage by persons accumulated the highest with 38.84 per cent of the total active coverage by persons nationwide. Trailing MTN is GLO with 26.19 per cent; AIRTEL, 25.56 percent; 9-Mobile, 9.21 per cent, and others 0.20 percent of the total active coverage by persons nationwide in Q4 2018.


States with the highest intra-regional active voice subscriptions

The number of active subscribers in Nigeria increased by 6.66 per cent from 162 million in Q3 2018 to 172.8 million subscribers in Q4 2018. This growth is largely attributed to the participation of the South-western region as the states therein contributed 31.01 per cent to the figure accumulating 53.6 thousand active voice subscribers. Lagos State stands alone in the country as well as in the region with its total subscriber base amounting to 13.34 per cent and 44.61 per cent of the total active voice subscribers’ base respectively.

Other states that contributed most to the number of active voice subscribers by their regions are Rivers state with 27.15 per cent of the total active voice subscribers’ base in the South-South region; Anambra, 27.15 per cent South East region; Kano, 31.32 percent North West region; Borno 20.06 per cent, North East region, while FCT contributed 23.91 per cent of the total active voice subscribers’ base in the North Central region.


Across the regions in Q4 2018, the number of active voice subscribers recorded in the South West was 51.7 million active voice subscribers which are largely the resultant of the very high number of active voice subscribers in Lagos—the commercial centre of Nigeria.

Very high network penetration was also recorded in the North central where the total active voice subscriptions amassed amounted to 32.1 million, closely followed is the North West and South-South; while South East and North East have the least number of subscribers.

Regional distribution of active voice subscribers by network in Q42018

In Q4 2018, MTN network accumulated a major share of the active voice subscriptions. Analysis of the telecom data indicated that MTN dominated in 5 of the 6 regions in Nigeria. Similarly, GLO network dominated only in remaining region—North Central. The regional chart displays the performances of the networks across regions.

Part II focuses on the regional analysis of active internet subscription…