The number of active phone subscribers in Nigeria has suffered a drastic decline with almost 12 million million deficit in just five months, an average of 2.4 million in a month.
This crash is from a peak figure of 207,954,737 in October 2020.
The October figure declined sharply to the abysmal figure in February to 196,078,494, a shortfall of 11,876,243 within the period under review.
However, industry watchers think that the present economic realities in the country are contributory factor to the decrease in the subscription rate.
But attribute the decline to the NIN-SIM card linkage exercise, especially during the period the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) suspended SIM activation for both new and lost SIMs.
One of the respondents and market observers said: “There are many variables that could cause the drop in active telephony subscriptions, the harsh economic climate in the country.”
“You will also understand that the Federal Government seems to leverage NIN-SIM integration to shore-up the intelligence for security of this nation. Some of those lines might have been blocked if the agencies found out that they are used for nefarious activities.”
On her part, Stella Muoghalu, said the Federal Government’s policy directing the Nigerian Communications Commission to enforce the suspension of sale, registration and activation of new SIM card may have affected the number.
She said, “The FG decision was for good course but at the same time harsh on businesses. You can image what a small business owner whose transactions are dependent on SIM card(s) would have faced. Many others lost their SIMs due to phone theft, misplacement and other reasons and they could not retrieve them. So, it is possible that now the SIM registration has been continued that the numbers will improve from this month (April 2021)”.
The decrease in telephony subscription affected the teledensity. Since March 2019, teledensity is calculated based on a population estimate of 190 million, up from 140 million previously used.
During the period under review, teledensity reduced from 108.94% to 102.72%, representing a difference of 6.22%.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has lifted ban on the sale, activation and registration of SIM cards. The government has mandated the telecommunication network operators to adhere to the newly released revised Policy on SIM Card registration and usage.
This was based on the feedback received from the security agencies following the successful revalidation of improperly registered SIM cards in September 2019 and the blocking of those that failed to revalidate their SIMs.: