One of Nigeria’s GSM operators, 9mobile seems to be losing its grip in the market as the data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the operator suffered more customer losses in November 2023 as 1,646 of its customers moved to other networks.
According to the latest industry statistics released by the telecom regulator, a total of 2,433 mobile subscribers ported out of their networks in November. Out of these, 1,646, representing 68 per cent, left 9mobile to other networks.
Other operators also recorded outgoing porting, but insignificant numbers compared with 9mobile. MTN, for instance, lost 274 customers, the same as Airtel, while Globacom recorded 239 outgoing porting.
On the other hand, MTN, which is the largest operator by subscriber number, still gained more customers from other operators. Out of the 2,433 incomings reported in the month, MTN received 1,470 customers from other networks.
The data shows that Airtel also received 668 customers from other networks, while Globacom gained 211 customers from other operators.
However, 9mobile, which lost a significant number of customers to other networks also recorded the least incoming porting as only 84 subscribers moved to the network in the month under review.
The movement (porting) of subscribers was achieved through the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) instituted by the telecoms regulator, which allows customers to change their service providers without changing their numbers.
From a peak of 22,539 in July 2015, the number of ports by mobile subscribers in Nigeria had declined steadily over the years to an average of 3,000 in a month. While the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) had attributed the decline to improvement in service quality, the telecoms regulator believes it is a combination of factors.
According to NCC, aside from the quality of service, most subscribers equally ported to other networks because they wanted to enjoy cheaper call and data rates on various promos offered by network operators.
“The essence of Mobile Number Portability, which the NCC introduced some years ago, offers telecoms subscribers the flexibility to move at will from one network to another, while still retaining their original mobile numbers. They will not be subjected to a particular network if they have reasons to leave the network, and that is the beauty of Mobile Number Portability.
“Subscribers port for different reasons, which include getting a better quality of service or enjoying certain packages being offered by another operator. Nigerian subscribers will continue to enjoy this right,” the immediate past Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta had said.