Nigeria has Africa’s largest mobile market, with about 150 million subscribers and a penetration rate of 107%. The rapid growth in the number of subscribers led to problems with network congestion and quality of service, prompting the telecom regulator to impose fines and sanctions on the network operators. These operators have responded by investing billions of dollars in base stations and fibre optic transmission infrastructure to support the ever increasing demand for bandwidth.
Efforts are also being made to encourage network sharing and to outsource the management of tower infrastructure to third parties. There remains considerable growth potential in rural areas where the provision of network infrastructure and operations is expensive, and consequently where mobile penetration is lower. Competition of voice pricing has encouraged operators to develop new revenue streams from mobile broadband and data services, including m-payments and m-banking.
Although the market is one of the most competitive in Africa, the industry regulator between 2013 and early 2016 applied a price floor on voice and data tariffs in a bid to prevent the dominant operators from squeezing competitors. Following years of delay, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was finally introduced in 2013, and this has stimulated market competitiveness. The terrorist group Boko Haram has created difficulties for network provision and maintenance in the northern states, a difficulty which neither the government nor operators are properly positioned to address.
MTN Nigeria awarded spectrum in the 2.6GHz band for LTE use, extends licenses for spectrum in the 900MHz and 1800MHz bands to August 2021; government prepares legislation to enforce 9% tax on electronic communications services; Visafone acquired by MTN Nigeria, trials LTE in the 800MHz band; NATCOM Consortium preps for LTE launch; additional base stations installed under the USPF program; Airtel Nigeria and Etisalat sell tower infrastructure; Smile Communications extends LTE; government cracks down on substandard mobile devices; report update includes operator data to Q2 2016, regulator’s market data updates to June 2016, recent market developments.
MTN Nigeria, Glo Mobile (Globacom), Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel), Etisalat Nigeria (EMTS, Mubadala), M-Tel (Nitel), Visafone, Starcomms (Capcom), Multi-Links, Reliance, Intercellular, Megatech Engineering (Zoda Fones), Telkom, Econet Wireless, Vodacom.
Companies (Major Players)
Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media
Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure)
Regulations & Government Policies
Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets)
Number of pages 39
Last updated 18 Aug 2016
Lead Analyst: Henry Lancaster
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