Portio Mobile Factbook 2013
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The latest figures from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) suggest Nigeria’s mobilecustomer base grew 7.5% in the first six months of 2010 to reach 78.65mn at the end of June. Thisresulted in a mobile penetration rate of 51.6%, up from 38.8% a year earlier. After expanding 4.5% in thefirst three months of 2010, mobile customer growth slowed in the second quarter of the year, with thenumber of Nigerian mobile customers increasing by just 3% quarter-on-quarter (q-o-q). Compared withthe preceding quarters, mobile customer growth in Q210 was relatively low. One explanation for theslowdown could be the launch of compulsory SIM registration in May 2010. In future, this developmentis expected to result in much slower rates of growth for the mobile market.
BMI has revised up its growth forecast for Nigeria’s mobile sector. We expect the market to have morethan 84mn subscribers at the end of 2010, reflecting full-year growth of about 15%. We continue tobelieve that rural areas will be one of the next important growth frontiers in the market. If Nigeria’smobile operators manage to implement strategies which allow them to expand into underserved parts ofthe country, it is possible our forecast will report faster growth than we anticipate. By the end of 2014,our newly revised forecast envisages more than125.5mn mobile customers; equivalent to a penetrationrate of over 75%.
Noteworthy developments in Nigeria’s telecoms market include signs that the privatisation of ailingincumbent fixed-line operator Nitel has moved a step closer. According to a report by Bloomberg in July,the chairman of Nigeria’s Senate Committee on Privatisation indicated the government should approvethe sale of Nitel to New Generation Telecommunications, the consortium which emerged as thepreferred buyer for the operator in February, after bidding US$2.5bn.
Other notable developments in the sector include the announcement in August that Nigeria’s third-rankedmobile operator Zain would be rebranded as Bharti in October. The move follows the acquisition of theoperator by India’s Bharti Airtel in March 2010.
In this quarter we introduce terminology to describe the different categories surveyed in BMI’s TelecomsBusiness Environment Ratings. BMI undertook this change in order to standardise the BusinessEnvironment Ratings across different industry sectors. Nigeria continues to rank second in BMI’s latestset of Business Environment Ratings for Sub-Saharan Africa.