The National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, has revealed that the country’s telecommunications sector experienced a decline in growth the first quarter of 2017.
The report made public by the NBS but sourced by the NBS and Nigerian Communication Commission, NCC, states: “At the end of the first quarter there were 152,467,198 subscribers, which represent a quarterly decline of 1.33%. Along with declines in the first half of 2016, this indicates that growth has become less consistent, after years of nearly uninterrupted growth.
“Year on year however, there was still an increase of 2.5%; a larger increase than at the end of any quarter since March 2016, reflecting the increases seen throughout the second half of 2016. Part of this growth arose from the inclusion of new providers.”
According to the data provided by NCC, there was no change in the number of CDMA or Fixed wireless subscribers relative to the previous quarter. “In contrast, both GSM and Fixed wired subscriber numbers fell, by 1.38% and 1.58% respectively. However, due to the much larger number of GSM subscribers, this technology type is the main driver of movements in the total numbers of subscribers. The quarterly increase in VoIP subscriber numbers was 195.89%, or nearly triple, from 33,099 subscribers in December 2016 to 97,935 in March 2017. Year on year, both CDMA and Fixed Wireless subscriber numbers fell greatly, by 81.41% and 47.72% respectively. However, growth was buoyed by a 3.12% increase in the number of GSM subscribers, and the introduction to the data of the VoIP technology type.”
The telecoms sector, according to the commission and bureau, however has a history of contributing immensely to the nation’s GDP; “In real terms, the telecommunication sector contributed N1,663 billion to GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016, or 9.1%, which represents an increase of 1.1% points relative to the quarter. However, due to differing seasonal patterns, the telecommunications sector tends to account for the lowest share of GDP in the third quarter. The share of telecommunications in total real GDP had declined throughout 2010 to 2014.
“In 2015 and 2016, the sector fared better than the overall economy, and therefore the share of telecommunications in real GDP increased in both years, and was 8.9% in 2016.