Voice and Internet Subscribers Rise in Q4 2023

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February 26, 2024/CSL Research

According to a report from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the total number of active voice subscribers in Q4 2023 grew by 0.96% to 224,713,710 from 222,571,568 reported in Q4 2022. On a q/q basis, voice subscribers grew by 1.32%. Also, in Q4 2023, the total number of active internet subscribers increased to 163,838,439 from 154,847,901 reported in Q4 2022, an increase of 5.81%. On a q/q basis, internet subscribers grew by 2.29%.

Lagos State still had the highest number of active voice users in Q4 2023 at 26.7 million while Bayelsa had the least number of voice users at 1.6 million subscribers. In the same vein, Lagos State also had the highest number of internet users at 18.9 million subscribers, while Bayelsa recorded the least number of 1.2 million internet users.

For the telecom sector, 2023 was a challenging year due to several problems. Both the telco companies and subscribers’ purchasing power were negatively impacted by the depreciation of the Naira, the devaluation of the Naira resulted in significant financial losses for both MTN and Airtel due to the revaluation of their balance sheets.

As of 9M 2023, they reported a cumulative loss of N479 billion, contributing to a decline in profitability. As a result, the growth rate of the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector fell to 6.33% y/y in Q4 2023, a five-year low, from 10.35% in Q4 2022 and 6.69% in Q3 2023. For FY 2023, the ICT grew by 7.91% compared with 9.76% in 2022.

MTN Nigeria played a significant role in driving the growth in internet and voice subscriptions in Q4 2023, with the highest number of active voice subscribers (86.04 million, up 2.4% y/y) followed by Airtel (61.83 million, up 2.9% y/y) and Globacom (61.6 million up 2.2% y/y).

Similarly, MTN reported the highest number of internet users (70.66 million, up 7.7%y/y), followed by Airtel (45.17 million, up 9.4% y/y) and Globacom (44 million, up 2.2% y/y) during the same period. MTN Nigeria maintains its leadership position in the telecom sector, with its impressive rollout of 5G spectrum, expansion of 4G network coverage and the growth of its fintech operations (MoMo) contributing to its sustained success.

Looking forward, we anticipate that advancements in new technologies, increasing smartphone adoption, and growing digital awareness will continue to propel the growth in active voice and internet subscribers across Nigeria.

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