Data war: More Nigerians dump MTN, Airtel for Glo

More internet subscribers are dumping other internet service providers like MTN, Airtel and others for indigenous mobile telecommunication company, Glo mobile, as statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission [NCC] has revealed that it amassed more data subscribers than any other service providers between January and May, 2020.

According to the statistics, Glo dwarfed other competitors, as it gained 8.302 million data subscribers when it grew from 28.934 million in December 2019 to 37.236 million by the end of May 2020, while MTN gained 4.75 million data subscribers.

Airtel, which used to be the second-highest in subscribers growth after MTN, recorded 2.795 million, while 9mobile lost 812,827 subscribers within the same period.

Recall that NCC’s data for the period ending December 2019, revealed that Nigeria’s largest mobile telecommunication company, MTN, gained 8.18 million data subscribers, and Airtel successfully edged out Glo in terms of data subscriber numbers, as the telco added 4.06 million subscribers over the indigenous brand.

However, competition between two of Nigeria’s largest data sellers, MTN and Airtel took different turns in 2019, as MTN recovered from the drop recorded during the year.

The competition has taken a new twist so far in 2020 (January – May 2020). Though MTN and Airtel, the two Nigeria’s largest data sellers, have 58.863 million data subscribers and 37.317 million subscribers respectively, Glo, which is the third-largest came from behind to outrun the ‘big players’, as more subscribers opted for the service of the indigenous ISP during the economic lockdown imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic.

While MTN and Airtel managed to attract only 689,593 and 41,791 subscribers in March and April (Peak of the lockdown) respectively, Glo smiled to the bank, as it attracted new 2.072 million data subscribers within the same period.

In terms of market share, MTN maintains the lead, as it controls 39.61% of the market (May 2020), followed by Glo with 27.12%, then Airtel with 26.83%, and 9mobile with 6.37% within the same period.

Meanwhile, GSM companies continue to jostle for market share, it has often come at the expense of poor service and lack of accountability. Quite frankly, as an average internet user in Nigeria, one is usually left at the mercy of poor mobile internet services which frustrates one into seeking limited alternatives.

However, years down the line, Nigeria is still faced with poor internet quality. In a recent survey conducted on download speed experiences of subscribers across 87 countries including Nigeria, a Network monitoring outfit, Opensignal, concluded that congestion is messing with the user experience. Nigeria ranked 83 out of 87 of the countries surveyed in terms of download speed experience.

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