The last six months of 2020 was a bad period for MTN Nigeria, as the company’s telephone subscribers dumped its Y’ellow network within three months.
MTN was the highest loser in the telecoms subscriber base market in the last half year of 2020 compared to Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and 9mobile.
Data from the Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC) showed that Airtel Nigeria, Globacom and 9mobile were on a gaining streak of six months before they hit a roadblock in December. During the six months period, MTN lost about three million subscribers, more than the 2.03 million Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile lost in total.
It was discovered that, while Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile grew their subscriber base without a loss in third quarter (July-September) last year, 448,831 subscribers dumped MTN in September to end Q3 with 82.63 million.
During the same period, Airtel had gained (483,851) more subscribers than MTN lost, to rise to 54.25 million, while Globacom added 1.32 million subscribers to its base to improve its total number ro 54.25 million, and 9mobile gained 351,610 subscribers to increase its base to 12.72 million in Q3 last year.
Meanwhile, in fourth quarter 2020, MTN recorded loses in November and December. MTN’s subscriber base depleted at a high rate from 83.33 million subscribers in October to 82.02 million in November.
In December, MTN’s subscriber base further declined to 80.76 million. This put MTN’s subscriber loss at over 2.56 million between October to December.
During the same period, MTN’s rivals, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile suffered loss once – in December. While the Y’ellow network’s subscriber base dropped between October and November, Airtel grew its base by 1.01 million subscribers to hit 57.23 million total subscriber base.
However, the number dwindled by 1.58 million in December, putting Airtel’s total subscriber base at 55.64 million. Following a gain of 10,024 subscribers in November, Globacom also suffered the same fate like other telcos, as it lost 249,194 subscribers in December, to close the year with 54.84 million subscriber base behind Airtel.
The constant decline in MTN subscriber base shows that the telco giant is losing its grip in the telecoms market, and informing its rivals that subscribers’ confidence in the MTN service is depreciating.
Exodus exit from MTN affected the firm’s gap above its market rivals, shrinking its market share to 39.55% in December, from 40.30% in September 2020. In August last year, MTN held a 40.90% market share.
Airtel currently accounts for 27.25% of the subscriber base market share, while Globacom holds 26.85% share and 9mobile takes up the 6.36% share of the market.
The reason for the exodus in MTN could be linked to the company’s high rate of data depletion and call rate. MTN charges a flat rate of 11.26kobo per second for calls, Airtel, Globacom and 9mobile charge 11kobo per second.