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.
NATCOMS, FG in Court Over Multiple Taxes on Telecom Services
The National Association of Telecommunication Subscribers (NATCOMS) has filed a lawsuit against the federal government over its imposition of multiple taxes on telecom services.
Investors King gathered that telecommunication subscribers have decried the government’s plan to add a 5 percent excise duty on the already existing telecom services taxes, hence the suit move.
The National President, NATCOMS, Adeolu Ogunbanjo stated that the suit filed is aimed at halting the implementation of the excise duty and putting an end to the continuous imposition of Value Added Tax (VAT) on telecom services for users.
Ogunbanjo, in the suit filed at the Federal High Court Ikoyi, prayed the court to declare Value Added Tax on telecom services as unconstitutional and illegal as well as declare the imposition of excise duty on telecoms as null and void.
He said, “There are too many taxes on telecom service. Putting too many taxes on it is not fair. When you buy airtime, you pay VAT. Why are we still paying VAT for the services?”
The suit filed by the NATCOMS reads in part: “A declaration that the imposition and implementation of Value Added Tax on telecommunication services, as taxable services by Section 2 of the VAT ACT as amended, by the 7th – 9th Defendants and the imposition and implementation of Excise Duty on telecommunication services by Section 21(2) of the Excise Act as amended by Section 37 of the Finance ACT, by the 7th – 10th Defendants amount to double taxation on the plaintiff’s members, who are telecommunication services consumers or subscribers in Nigeria, and therefore unconstitutional, illegal, unfair and null and void.”
In the suit, the Attorney General of the Federation, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Federal Inland Revenue Service, and the Nigerian Customs Service Board were on the defendants’ list.
Investors King recalls that the federal government disclosed its plan to introduce a 5 percent excise duty tax on telecom services in July 2022.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, explained that the tax was introduced to increase the government revenue.
The excise duty tax on telecom services to be paid by consumers is projected to generate about N160.46 billion in 2023.
Amazon Refines Stores Formats, Exits Certain Stores With Low Growth Potential
E-commerce giant Amazon has announced plans to exit some fresh supermarkets and Go convenience stores as it is currently refining stores with low growth potential.
The company disclosed such a move was necessitated after it took a hard look at the store level in the fourth Quarter (Q4), where it plans to slow things down and also where it plans to get out of some leases.
As part of a periodic assessment of its grocery portfolio, the company decided to exit certain stores. It also took a $720 million impairment charge in the fourth quarter.
Speaking on the company’s plan to close some fresh supermarkets and Go convenience stores, Amazon’s finance Chief Brian Olsavsky said “We are continuously refining our store formats to find the ones that will resonate with customers, will build our grocery brand and will allow us to scale meaningfully”.
The company’s CEO Andy Jassy stated that the earnings call reveals Amazon’s stores need to resonate with customers, noting that the company needs to be in a better position.
He further disclosed that the company is optimistic about positive revenue growth in 2023, as it sees some encouraging signs, and when it finds the equation, there will be an expansion.
Amazon currently operates several dozen fresh grocery stores and 28 Amazon Go convenience stores.
Investors King understands that last month, the e-commerce giant closed one of its London fresh stores and opened another elsewhere, in a sign that the company is cooling its grocery retail expansion plans for the capital.
The tech giant saw physical store sales climb in the fiscal 2022 fourth quarter (Q4) and full year as it posted strong overall sales gains for both periods.
Meanwhile, fiscal 2022 had a net loss of $2.72 billion, or 27 cents per diluted share, versus net earnings of $33.36 billion, or $3.24 per diluted share, in 2021.
Signals of a slowdown by Amazon trying to balance growth efforts and control costs amid a gloomy economic forecast had recently popped up in the Amazon Fresh grocery store business.
Following a stream of openings in the United States over the past couple of years, Amazon Fresh’s expansion appears to have bogged down, with a number of sites for planned new stores sitting idle.
Still, the company’s CEO Andy Jassy and other Amazon executives have described the Store’s business, including grocery, as one of the units with big opportunities ahead.
Airtel Africa Pays $316.7 Million for Nigeria 4G and 5G Spectrum
Airtel Africa, Africa’s leading telecommunications and mobile money services has paid a total sum of $316.7 million to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the purchase of 100 MHz of spectrum in the 3500MHz band and 2x5MHz of 2600MHz.
The new spectrum acquisition will help support the company’s network expansion for both mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability.
This, Airtel Africa said it includes 5G rollout and also will improve the company’s capacity to accommodate strong data growth in the country and exceptional customer experience.
The company led the industry in providing affordable 4G services across the country following the deployment of a fully modernised network which facilitated a 4-fold increase in data traffic over the last three years. The penetration of data customers in Nigeria remains low, providing significant opportunity for future growth.
The acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin Airtel’s growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalisation for consumers, enterprises and the public sector.
The key benefits of 5G will include higher speeds, lower latency, significant network capacity as well as an improved user experience.
Furthermore, the deployment of 5G will accelerate the availability and efficiency of fixed wireless access products across the country, contributing towards Airtel Nigeria’s progress in meeting the National Broadband Plan targets.
The acquisition of 2600MHz spectrum will complement our already strong spectrum position in the market to enhance network capacity and futureproof our growth opportunity.
Segun Ogunsanya, CEO of Airtel Africa commented: “Nigeria is a market with enormous potential for future growth in mobile services. Investment in new technologies and local infrastructure to enable this growth is a strategic priority for the Group and will ensure we are able to provide reliable and affordable services to local communities across the country.
He added that “5G is critical to these ambitions, and we look forward to launching new services to drive further digitalisation across the country, facilitate economic progress and transform lives across Nigeria.”
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