145 Active Voice Subscription, 98 Million Internet Subscriptions Recorded In Nigeria For Q4, 2017 – NBS


According to a report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) called “Telecoms Data: Active Voice and Internet per State, Porting and Tariff Information for the Fourth Quarter of 2017” made available to Brand Spur, Nigeria recorded a total Active Voice Subscription and Total Active Internet Subscription in the fourth quarter of 2017 was 145,065,953 and 98,699,310 respectively. 

The report states that the total Active Voice Subscription increased by 3.69% from quarter 3, 2017. However, the total Active Internet Subscription increased by 5.83% from quarter 3, 2017.

Both voice and internet communication subscriptions in the fourth quarter, 2017 were dominated by GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications). 

By the end of the fourth quarter 2017, South-Western and North-Central states recorded the highest numbers of voice and internet subscriptions than any other geopolitical zones in Nigeria.

Active Voice Subscription


Total Active Voice Subscriptions in the fourth quarter of 2017 decreased by 6.12% when compared with the same quarter of 2016, from to 154,529,780 in 2016 Q4 to 145,065,953 in Q4, 2017. The figure also indicates a 3.69% increase from the number reported in the third quarter of 2017.

Subscription by Technology (GSM, CDMA, Fixed Wires/Wireless, and VoIP)


GSM subscription remained the largest component in Total Active Mobile Subscription over the past year. As at the end of the fourth quarter of 2017, Nigeria recorded 144,640,677 GMS based active voice subscriptions nationwide.

Other Technology

Other technology of voice telecommunication includes CDMA, Fixed Wires/Wireless, and VoIP, which constitute around 0.29% of the total Active Voice Subscription in 2017 Q4. CDMA as an alternative mobile technology contributed 0.16% of the total active subscriptions, while fixed/ fixed wireless and VoIP accounted for 0.10% and 0.04% of the total figures respectively. Please notice that the percentage figures presented in this and the next sessions are estimated according to latest NCC data and are subject to revision by NBS. 

Subscription by Network Operator

In the fourth quarter, the four largest voice communication providers were MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9Mobile (EMTS), which contributed to 36.14%, 26.39%, 25.74% and 11.72% of the total telecom communication subscriptions respectively. Among the top four network providers, Airtel, 9mobile (EMTS) and MTN only specialize in GSM technology, while Globacom operates both in the GSM and Fixed/Fixed Wireless Telecommunication technology space.

Active Voice Subscription by State

South West states recorded the highest active voice subscriptions with a total subscription of 44,465,508 active voice subscriptions. Lagos, Ogun, and Oyo were the top three states and jointly accounted for 25.06% of the total voice subscription of the country. Lagos led the pack with 19,417,181 total active voice subscriptions and 19,118,767 GSM users by the end of the fourth quarter, equaling 13.18% of the total nationwide subscriptions. Following the top three states were Kano (7,382,805), Kaduna (6,642,801) and Rivers with 5,456,860.  Bayelsa state accounted for the lowest number of active voice subscriptions in the quarter under review, with 954,353.  

Data/Internet Subscriptions


Data subscriptions in Q4 2017, as in previous quarters was dominated by mobile (GSM) internet subscriptions, accounting for 99.7% of all active data/internet subscriptions. In the quarter under review, total active internet subscriptions stood at 98,699,310, a 5.83% growth over the previous quarter’s 93,263,436 active subscriptions.

Mobile (GSM) Internet Subscriptions

GSM remains the most dominant technology type for accessing the internet for subscribers.  In Q4 2017, active GSM internet subscriptions stood at 98,391,456, representing a 5.82% growth from the previous quarter’s 92,975,682 active subscribers. GSM internet subscriptions were on an increasing trend throughout the year 2017, recording a 7.1% growth in subscriptions between December 2016 and December 2017.

In the quarter under review (Q4 2017) MTN retained the highest share of all GSM active internet subscribers, capturing 36.6% of subscriptions (36,069,597), followed by Glo at 27.4% of subscription (26,997,817), Airtel at 24.3% of subscriptions (23,985,203), and 9mobile (EMTS) at 11.5% of subscriptions (11,338,839). 

There were mixed changes in GSM internet subscriptions for all telecommunication operators when compared to the same period last year (Q4 2016). MTN increased by 13.6% rising from 31,753,369 to 36,069,597 subscriptions; Globacom decreased by 0.04% dropping from 27,010,178 to 26,997,817 subscriptions; Airtel increased by 23.9% from 19,363,945 to 23,985,203 subscriptions; and 9Mobile decreased by 17.5% dropping from 13,752,940 to 11,338,839 subscriptions.

Other Subscriptions (VoIP, CDMA, and Fixed Wireless Internet Subscriptions)

In the period under review, other active internet subscriptions grew 6.84% quarter-on-quarter from 288,154 active subscribers in Q3 2017 to 307,854 in Q4 2017.

Data/Internet Subscriptions by State (Mobile/GSM)

In the quarter under review, Lagos state recorded the highest active GSM internet subscriptions within the country, with 13,631,562 representing 13.81% of all active internet subscriptions. This was followed by Ogun State at 6,434,069 (6.5%), Oyo State at 5,388,003 (5.46%), Kano at 4,634,623 (4.7%), and Kaduna at 4,506,065 (4.6%). Together the top ten states for active internet subscriptions (Delta, Edo, Kaduna, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Oyo, Rivers, and FCT) accounted for 53.27% of all internet subscriptions in Q4 2017. Bayelsa State, just as in active voice subscriptions recorded the lowest number of active internet subscriptions, recording 681,933.

The South West region has the highest percentage of active mobile internet subscriptions at 31.50% with 31,097,215 subscriptions, this is followed by North Central at 18.98% with 18,730,188 subscriptions, and North West at 16.21% with 16,001,335 subscriptions.  North Central, North East, and North West regions recorded a decrease in growth when compared with the previous quarter i.e. 31.26%, 26.19%, and 5.74% respectively. In the South West region, Glo represents 27.44% of all active GSM internet subscriptions, while MTN represents 36.66%, Airtel 24.37%, and EMTS (9Mobile) represents 11.52% respectively.

Porting Activities

In the fourth quarter of 2017, the total number of incoming and outgoing porting activities stood at 8,628 and 8,830, representing a decrease of 48.67% and 47.14% respectively over the previous quarter. 9Mobile (EMTS) was the largest beneficiary for incoming porting activities, accounting for 5,177 or 60% of the total incoming porting. 

Data Sent and Received (2016):

4.37 billion SMS messages were sent out and 4.57 billion SMS messages received in 2016, both of which were heavily dominated by MTN which accounted for 67.3% of the total.

MTN also dominated the number of outgoing (13.95 million) and incoming (10.77 million) roaming minutes of a total of 27.7 million and 39.97 million in 2016