By Alexander Chiejina.
The demand for voice services, deployment of the 5G network is fuelling competition in Nigeria’s telecom ecosystem. Based on data available at the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) for Q1 2023 (as of March 2023), MTN Nigeria has a subscriber base of 91,552,179, Globacom Nigeria has a subscriber base of 60,799,946, Airtel Nigeria has a subscriber base of 60,328,560, while 9Mobile Nigeria has a subscriber base of 13,140,608.
Airtel Nigeria presently has a market share of 27.01 percent of the nation’s subscribers, according to figures from the Nigeria Communication Commission. Only MTN and Globacom have a larger market share than the corporation, with 39.79 percent and 27.28 percent, respectively.
Experts believe that increasing mobile subscribers will significantly increase the demand for voice services with voice service providers, such as MTN, Airtel, and Globacom, offering voice-over Long-Term Evolution (VoLTE) for customers, and creating new growth opportunities for the telecom market.
The introduction of 5G technology has unleashed a wave of transformation in the Nigerian telecommunications sector, reshaping the industry’s competitive landscape. As Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, and MAFAB Communications continue to deploy and capitalise on 5G networks, a fierce battle for market dominance has ensued.
Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, and MAFAB Communications are investing heavily in 5G infrastructure to provide ultra-fast download and upload speeds, significantly reducing latency. The result is improved network reliability and seamless services that attract consumers seeking a superior digital experience. With customers increasingly prioritising speed and connectivity, these telcos are fiercely competing to outdo one another and attract a larger share of the market.
The race for 5G dominance has prompted telcos to expand their network reach across the country. These telco firms are deploying 5G in major cities and urban centres, aiming to cover a significant portion of the population. This expansive reach appeals to customers in areas where 5G is accessible, encouraging them to switch to the telco that offers the best coverage.
With 5G, customers can experience smoother video streaming, improved gaming, and real-time communication. Airtel, MTN, and MAFAB are leveraging these advantages to enhance customer experiences and retain their user base. This heightened focus on customer satisfaction and loyalty has led to increased competition as telcos vie to offer the most compelling 5G services.
MTN Nigeria partnered with Huawei to install over 100 5G base stations. Commercial 5G rollout is to offer high-speed service for customers. MTN Nigeria plans to invest $1.5 billion over the next three years to expand broadband access in the West African nation. Such initiatives will further bring new opportunities for the telecom market.
From IoT applications to AI-driven services, these telcos are seeking to differentiate themselves by providing cutting-edge offerings. This race for innovation is attracting tech-savvy customers and creating a shift in the customer base towards companies that embrace emerging technologies.
With high-speed connectivity, expanded network coverage, enhanced customer experiences, and a focus on innovation, these telcos are striving to attract and retain a loyal customer base. As the battle for 5G supremacy rages on, Nigerian consumers stand to benefit from improved services, innovative partnerships, and a dynamic telco industry that continuously evolves to meet their growing digital needs.
According to Mordor Intelligence, the Nigeria Telecom Market size is expected to grow from $9.05 billion in 2023 to $11.99 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 5.78 percent during the forecast period (2023-2028).
Fixed broadband penetration is expected to grow over the next five years. Deployment of fixed broadband service to remote locations will bring growth opportunities for the telecom market.
Government authorities are working with private telecom service providers to expand their broadband services. For instance, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) plans to deploy broadband infrastructure under the National Communications Backbone (NCB) project. The project’s implementation includes the deployment of 120,000 km of fibre across the country, increasing broadband penetration to 70 percent by 2025, and connecting 60 percent of communication towers with fibre.
Active voice subscriptions also increased from about 151 million to 226.2 million while internet subscriptions increased from about 95 million to approximately 158 million in March 2023, data from Nigeria Communications Commission reveal. Teledensity has also grown significantly from 107.87 percent in 2015 to 118.48 percent as of March 2023, according to the NCC
The NCC, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, has issued a 5G licence to MTN Nigeria Plc, Airtel Nigeria and Mafab Communications Limited. The deployment of 5G services is in line with the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) 2020 – 2030, National Policy on Fifth Generation (5G) Networks for Nigeria’s Digital Economy and in fulfilment of one of the key initiatives of the Nigerian National Broadband Plan 2020-2025 (NNBP).