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Telecommunications Companies Recover From Nigeria’s SIM-NIN Link Losses

Telecommunications companies recovered from 20.83 million subscribers worth N29.58bn in revenue lost.




Telecommunication companies have recovered from the losses they suffered following the Federal Government’s policy of linking of National Identity Numbers with SIM cards.

It could be recalled that the industry statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission had disclosed that the telecom giants including MTN Nigeria, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile had lost 20.83 million subscribers since the linking of NIN-SIM cards link began.

The Federal Government had in 2021 set a deadline for citizens to link their NIN with their SIM cards and had banned the sales of new SIM cards in December of same year in a view to tackling insecurity and identifying fraudulent individuals easily.

However, during the period of the ban and having lifted the ban in April of the same year, telcos had lost subscribers numbering 20.83 million which amounted to N29.58bn in lost revenue.

After the policy fully kicked off in April last year, over 72.77 million active telecommunication subscriptions that didn’t link up were denied access to make calls.

Meanwhile, new data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that the telecommunications industries are shaking off the loss and recording higher subscriptions from Nigerians.

The data put the number of mobile subscriptions in the country to 222.23 million in 2022 despite the implementation of the NIN-Subscriber Identity Module policy.

The companies, according to the data, grew by 13.89 percent in 2022 as against 4.42 percent from 204.15 million as of December 2020 to 195.13 million as of December 2021.

Subscriptions total number increased from 195.13 million as of December 2021 to 222.23 million as of December 2022, the data revealed.

MTN Nigeria, within the period captured by the data, grew by 20.96 per cent from 73.59 million to 89.02 million; Airtel increased by 11.38 per cent from 53.93 million to 60.07 million; Globacom grew by 9.98 per cent from 54.82 million to 60.29 million; and 9mobile grew by 0.49 per cent from 12.85 million to 12.79 million.

Also in 2022, teledensity, the number of active telephone connections per 100 inhabitants living within an area, recorded growth amounting to 116.60 per cent, which is said to be the highest on record.

Reacting to the development, the Chief Operating Officer, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Ajibola Olude, said the mobile subscriptions’ growth in 2022, was due to the increased usage of Internet and active participation of Nigerians on social media.

Olude also linked the growth to efforts of the federal government through it awareness creation on the importance of embracing Information Communication Technology, saying that most Nigerians need SIM cards to carryout out their daily activities.

He said many Nigerians now operate their businesses and services online and that the cashless police of the Central Bank of Nigeria also motivated Nigerians to get more SIMs and get more Internet-enabled phones.

It is on record that Nigeria’s mobile population is the largest in Africa and is expected to continue to grow because of its increasing population of youngsters who are internet-savvy.

GSMA, the global body representing telcos, has disclosed that 18 million new Nigerians will become unique mobile subscribers by 2025.


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Airtel Africa Announces Interim Dividend Amidst Robust Half-Year Performance



Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Airtel Africa Plc has declared its intention to pay an interim dividend for the half-year period ending September 2023.

The telecommunication giant, listed on both the NGX and the London Stock Exchange, shared this development in a corporate notice titled ‘Announcement of Interim Dividend Currency Exchange Rates’ filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Tuesday.

Airtel Africa disclosed that the interim dividend, amounting to 2.38 US cents per ordinary share, would be disbursed on December 15, 2023, to qualified shareholders.

Notably, shareholders have the option to receive the dividend in US dollars, GB pounds, or Nigerian naira, based on their preference.

The adopted exchange rates for currency conversion were set at 1 USD = 858.24 Nigerian naira and 1 USD = 0.8190 GB pounds.

Airtel Africa emphasized that these rates were determined by the exchange rates applicable to the US dollar as of Friday.

Despite recording a loss after tax of $13 million, primarily attributed to a foreign exchange loss of $471 million in finance costs, Airtel Africa showcased robust performance in its half-year report.

The company reported a 19.7% growth in revenue currency to $2.62 billion, with double-digit revenue growth across all segments.

Mobile services revenue increased by 18.3%, driven by growth in voice and data revenue, while mobile money revenue saw a significant surge of 30.9%.

The company’s EBITDA also exhibited a commendable increase of 21.2%, reflecting a 70 basis points margin improvement over the prior period.

Airtel Africa remains resilient in the face of inflationary cost pressures and foreign exchange headwinds, showcasing a promising outlook for investors.

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MTN Evaluates Exit from Three African Markets Amid Regional Challenges



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African telecommunications giant MTN is reportedly contemplating an “orderly exit” from its operations in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia, according to a report by Business Insider Africa.

The company, which currently operates in 19 countries across Africa and the Middle East, aims to streamline its portfolio and address challenges in the West and Central Africa (Weca) region.

While the exact reasons for the potential exit remain undisclosed, MTN’s financial reports indicate broader challenges in the Weca segment.

CEO Ralph Mupita highlighted concerns over inflation and currency devaluation in multiple markets.

The company’s 2022 financials revealed a 1.7% decline in EBITDA margin due to pricing pressures, fintech channel subsidies, and macroeconomic hurdles.

Although Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia contribute only 1.6% to MTN’s total revenue, the move aligns with the company’s strategic focus on optimizing its market presence.

MTN holds a significant market share, approximately 30%, in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, while Lonestar MTN is the second-largest telecom operator in Liberia.

The potential exit reflects MTN’s commitment to adapting its business strategy to navigate the evolving economic landscape and optimize its portfolio for sustained growth.

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Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications Secures N1 Billion for Three Million Technical Talent Program



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Dr. Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, has announced the acquisition of N1 billion in funding for the implementation of the Three Million Technical Talent program.

During a council meeting with directors of the Information Communication and Technology department in all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in Abuja, Dr. Tijani emphasized the ministry’s commitment to building Nigeria’s technical talent base, strengthening the nation’s digital economy.

The minister highlighted the critical role of technology in the country’s economic growth and development.

He emphasized that effective collaboration, the creation of an enabling environment, and a workforce of public servants prepared to embrace change are essential to achieving the best results.

Dr. Tijani stated, “The best way to address societal problems is to bring people together to discuss and find solutions. Our meeting must be critical and effective in resolving issues to produce tangible outcomes. This will attract stakeholders and private investors who will provide the necessary resources.”

He emphasized the ministry’s commitment to its mission of training three million individuals, even in the absence of a dedicated budget.

The support of various organizations and companies has made it possible to secure N1 billion for the project, demonstrating the increasing interest and investment in Nigeria’s digital talent and technology initiatives.

Dr. Tijani urged the council to play its part in realizing the administration’s digitization objectives.

He called for the transformation of the civil service to maximize the utilization of limited resources, eliminating outdated practices, such as paper-based documentation, to usher in a new era of efficiency and digital innovation.

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