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9Mobile’s market share drops 6% as nearly 1 million subscribers exit

9Mobile, the fourth largest telecommunications company in Nigeria now accounts for only 6.54 percent of the voice market in Nigeria after seeing off nearly 1 million subscribers in February, according to data compiled by the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC).
The telco also lost 96,220 data subscribers, which brought its total down to 7.9 million in February. It is the second month in a row it is losing subscribers in both voice and data in 2020. 9Mobile is also the only telco that has lost twice in a row in 2020.
MTN extended its market lead with nearly 2 million subscribers in February given it a firm control of 38.7 percent of the market. The South African telco also gained nearly one million internet users.
Globacom, the second-largest by share of the market (27.68%) also made gains in February adding 48,798 voice users and 1.7 million internet subscribers.
Airtel also recovered some of its January losses by adding 490,389 voice users and 670,474 data users.
With February figures, 9Mobile has now gone nearly four years without recording growth in internet users. April 2016 was the last time 9Mobile was at the peak of its power, recording 17,194,118 subscribers, almost 2 million (1,951,262) increase from the previous month. It would also be the last time it would be overtaking Airtel and becoming the third-largest telecommunication company by share of internet subscribers in Nigeria. Since then, 9Mobile has seen an unbreakable run of subscribers exiting its platform.
Interestingly, 9Mobile had announced an investment of $220 million in the expansion of its 4G networks across 16 states in February as part of measures to grow its internet subscription. Following the announcement, the company said it was focused on simpler propositions and increasing deployment of its 4G technology.
“There is a huge potential that we can take advantage of, and we are very optimistic about meeting our expectations this year,” said Oluwatosin Olulana, Director of Sales at 9mobile.
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has put the telecommunication sector in the spotlight as nearly every company depends on the use of the internet to conduct its operations. Data usage among individuals and organisations has skyrocketed. Pew Research found that internet usage in Nigeria grew by 54 percent as a result of the pandemic. MTN Nigeria, the country’s biggest mobile phone service provider, also said in April it recorded a double-digit surge in data revenue in the first quarter of 2020, at the onset of the COVID-19.
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