ACTIVITIES that have to do with an operator losing and gaining subscribers in the telecommunications sector appeared to be on the upward swing. This is because in the first quarter of the year, about 52, 973 telephone users ported out of their respective networks. Outgoing activities increased by 20.81 per cent.
In the same vein, about 51, 301 ported into the networks within the same period. Launched in Nigeria by the Nigerian Communications Commission on April 22, 2013, porting activities refer to the transferal of subscribers to different network carriers. Therefore, incoming porting activities refer to those subscribers that have joined a network, whilst outgoing porting activities refer to those whom have left.
Data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) showed that the first quarter of 2016 recorded an increase in the number of porters relative to the first quarter of 2015. However both incoming and outgoing porting activity fell from peaks in the third quarter of 2015.
In terms of incoming porting activities, the statistics showed that there has been a clear divergence between Globacom and Airtel on the one hand, and Etisalat and MTN on the other. The first two providers recorded strong increases in incoming activity, both year on year (of 42.55 per cent and 159.97 per cent for Globacom and Airtel respectively) and quarter on quarter (of 104.26 per cent and 23.41 per cent respectively). This compares to decreases in incoming activity for MTN and Etisalat, both year on year (67.96 per cent and 8.27 per cent respectively) and quarter on quarter (39.57 per cent and 30.79 per cent).
However, the NBS data revealed that Etisalat remained the largest beneficiary of incoming porting activity, and accounted for 48.49 per cent in the first quarter of 2016, just short of half of all incoming activity. In addition, the decline recorded by Etisalat, according to the statistics was a result of less activity in January and February, when the provider recorded 6,329 and 7,411 incoming porters respectively.
By March the number had recovered to 11,136. Nevertheless, the report noted that its share for the whole quarter was significantly less than in the same quarter of the previous year, when the share was 63.30 per cent. Airtel remained the second largest beneficiary, and recorded increases in incoming porters each month, resulted in its share increasing from 17.97 per cent to 37.44 per cent between the final quarter of 2015 and 2016 Q1.
Despite recording a decline in the number of incoming porters, Globacom increased their share of the total, from 9.08 per cent in the final quarter of 2015 to 11.43 per cent in the first quarter of 2016.
In terms of the outgoing porting activities, the first quarter of 2016 recorded 52,973 outgoing porters, 0.72 per cent less than in the last quarter of 2015 when there were 52,595.
The statistics showed that each provider recorded increases between these periods apart from MTN, which recorded a decrease of 3.69 per cent. However, the largest increase was recorded by Globacom, which lost 16.82 per cent more subscribers to outgoing porting activities than in the previous quarter. The total number of outgoing porters fell in January, before recording strong increases in each subsequent month.
As with incoming activity, there was a reduction in the number of outgoing porters between the third and fourth quarter, the number fell by 23.26 per cent from 68,534 to 52,595. November was the month in which there was the most outgoing activity, when there were 18,258 people to leave their network, compared to 17,758 in December and 16,579 in October.
The share of outgoing porting activity accounted for by each provider was more stable than the share of incoming porting activity. Despite being the only provider to record a quarterly decrease MTN still accounted for the largest share of 58.59 per cent, although this is slightly lower than the share of 61.27 per cent recorded in the previous quarter. All other providers increased their share.
Airtel accounted for the second largest number of outgoing porters; their share increased from 18.70 per cent to 18.85 per cent between the last quarter of 2015 and Q1 of 2016. Globacom’s share increased from 11.64 per cent to 13.50 per cent over the same period, and Etisalat’s increased from 8.39 per cent to 9.06 per cent.