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Uptrend in Active Mobile Subscribers; Increased by 0.7% MoM to 224.7m in December 2023



By FBNQuest

Our chart below, drawn from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) data, shows that active mobile lines and internet connections increased by a modest 0.7% and 1.1% m/m to 224.7 million and 163.8 million, respectively in Dec ’23. This implies a teledensity of c.112% and an internet penetration rate of c.82% based on a population of 200 million.

The higher number of active subscriber lines relative to the previous month was primarily due to a modest addition to MTN Nigeria’s subscriber base. The largest mobile network registered a net subscriber gain of about c.1.1 million to 87 million. Consequently, its market share increased to 38.8% in Dec ‘23 from 38.6% in Nov ’23.

The closest rival for net subscriber additions was Airtel Nigeria, whose subscriber base expanded by 0.54 million, representing a growth of 0.9% m/m. As a result, Airtel’s market share increased by +10bps m/m to 27.6%.

Globacom, the third-largest mobile operator by subscribers, recorded a paltry increase of 63,400 users, with a market share of 27.5% as at end-Dec ’23.

9Mobile, the smallest of the four GSM carriers, suffered subscriber losses during the month, with a net subscriber loss of about c.43,000 users to 13.9 million.

The challenging macroeconomic operating environment driven by the sustained inflationary pressure and the devaluation of the Naira currency continues to negatively impact the performance of network operators in the country.

MTNN’s latest financial results showed that the company suffered a loss-before-tax of -NGN410.4bn mainly driven by a net fx loss of -NGN740.4bn in Q4 ’23, following the sharp depreciation of the naira during the quarter.

The company also saw a 51% y/y rise in operating expenses due to persistent inflationary pressures.

On a positive note, the results showed robust revenue growth of +24.4% y/y. Excluding fintech revenue which decreased by -6.1% y/y, MTNN recorded solid growth across all business segments, particularly digital, which more than doubled y/y.

Additionally, its active subscriber base grew by +5.3% y/y to 79.7 million during the quarter, supported by increased 4G and 5G coverage.

Source: FBNQuest

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