33% of mobile subscribers in Nigeria dispersed across only 5 states, FCT

by | Jun 1, 2016

While surfing through the internet, I chanced upon the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) website.  On landing on the page, I discovered the NBS had compiled the Q1 2016 summary report, titled: State Disaggregated Data, on the Nigerian Telecommunication sector. The report presents the total number of active voice and internet subscribers at the end of the first quarter 2016 disaggregated by States.

A look at it

The number of active voice subscriptions stood at 148.74 million at the end of Q1 2016. It didn’t however come as a surprise that MTN accounts for the largest share; enjoying 38% of the total (57.04 million subscribers), followed by Glo with 23.2 % (34.60 million subscribers) and Airtel with 22.7% (33.86 million mobile subscribers).

Also, a large portion of mobile subscribers in Nigeria currently reside in Lagos, Ogun, Kano, Oyo states and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja. And we are are looking at the most populated states in Nigeria.

Lagos State – the commercial city of Nigeria — accounted for the largest share of active voice subscribers with 12.8% of the total (19.04 million), followed by Ogun State with 5.7% (8.53 million subscribers), Kano State with 5.25% (7.81 million), Oyo State with 5.06% (7.53 million subscribers) and then FCT and Rivers State with 4.05% (6.03 million) and 3.93% (5.84 million) respectively. On the other hand, Bayelsa (1.11 million), Yobe (1.40 million), Ekiti (1.42 million) and Ebonyi (1.43 million) had the smallest number of active subscriber as of Q1 2016.

All of the top five States with respect to active voice subscriptions had total mobile subscribers in excess of their official population number as provided by the Nigerian Population Commission.

At this point I couldn’t help but notice the difference between these 5 states and the rest in terms of mobile subscribers. It is mind boggling that a whopping 33% of mobile subscribers in Nigeria are only dispersed across 5 states of residence. The debate leading up to the reasons for this can be exhaustive, but rural-Urban drift is the major cause of this disparity in numbers between the states with the highest and lowest numbers.

If everybody keeps moving to Lagos and other urban cities, at this rate, there would not be any sizeable amount of active mobile numbers in these states in the nearest future.

Moving on, the number of active internet subscriptions stood at 92.4 million at the end of Q1 2016 with MTN accounting for the largest share of 33.35 million (36.09% of total), followed by Glo with 26.53 million subscribers (28.70 % of total) and Airtel with 17.15 million (18.56%). Lagos State accounted for the largest share of active internet subscribers with 12.62 million or 13.65% of the total, followed by Ogun State with 5.62 million subscribers or 6.09%, Oyo State with 4.90 million subscribers or 5.31% of the total, then Kaduna and Kano State with 4.23 million (4.57%) and 4.13 million (4.47%) internet subscribers respectively. On the other hand, Yobe (0.69 million), Bayelsa (0.73 million) and Ebonyi (0.79 million) had the smallest number of active internet subscriber as of Q1 2016.

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Ifeanyi is a desk reporter-turned administrator. Outside of work, I love to read and travel.

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