Data War: Four Major Telecommunication outfit, lose over 8 million subscribers in 3 months.

MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile lost over 8 million data subscribers between March 2021 and May 2021. The four major internet providers lost 1.27 million data subscribers in May 2021, compared to the 3.17 million they lost in April 2021 and the 3.55 million subscribers lost in March 2021.

This is according to information obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission  (NCC).

The total number of mobile subscribers of the four major telecommunications outfits dropped from 141.41 million as of April to 140.13 million by the end of May 2021. The data subscriber base in Nigeria has been on a persistent downturn since the NIN-SIM ban.

MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile lost over 3.55 million data subscribers in March 2021.

The total number of subscribers of the four major telecommunication outfits dropped from 148,133,233 at end of February 2021 to 144,581,026 at the end of March 2021.


Airtel lost a total of 2.84 million data subscribers within the period of review, as its data subscribers dropped from 38,956,026 recorded as of the beginning of March to 36,120,443 by the end of May 2021.

Airtel had a total mobile subscriber base of 51.43 million as of February 2021 but had dropped to 50.03 million at the end of May 2021.


Between March 2021 and May 2021, MTN Nigeria lost a total of 2.64 million data subscribers. At the end of May 2021, the telco giant had 60,202,402 data subscribers, down from 61,575,323 and 62,843,182 it recorded as at the end of March and February respectively.

Between March 2021 and May 2021, the telco giant lost a total of 3.3 million mobile subscribers. This represents a 4.27% reduction in data subscribers.

At the end of May 2021, MTN had 74,044,687 mobile subscribers, accounting for 39.7% of the total subscriber base in the country.

The others, Globacom and 9mobile, also witnessed the drought, as they lost a total of 2.112 million and 415,905 data subscribers respectively within the same period.

A telecom expert, Olugbenga Akintunde, said,  the decline could be attributed to a number of factors. Some of them, according to him, are pricing, service quality, and the presence of alternative Internet Service Providers (ISP).

He said, “The decline in the number of data subscribers was caused largely by the high cost of internet in the country and the persistent poor quality of services rendered by the mobile firms. We should not be ignorant of the presence of other ISPs like Smile, Spectranet, among others, who at times provide better services for their subscribers compared to their GSM counterparts.”

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