Nigerian mobile telecoms in January 2021, had a user base of 150.8 million users but this number dipped to 141.97 million users by December 2021, showing a 7.99% or 9million drop according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
In December 2020, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami, ordered mobile telecoms to suspend the sales, activation and registration of SIM cards following the auditing of telecom subscribers database by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
- From December 2020 to February 2021, MTN Nigeria lost 5.7% or 4.67 million subscribers. Also, MTN Nigeria lost 2.92 million internet data users during that period.
- Airtel, on the other hand, from December 2020 to February 2021 lost 10.1% or 5.8 million subscribers. Its internet data users also dipped by 1.57 million.
- Both 9mobile and globacom lost 415,170 and 909, 955 mobile users respectively.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on 5th June 2021, ordered the ban of Twitter in Nigeria over the deletion of his tweet which violated the microblogging app terms of service. Twitter suspension in Nigeria lasted 100days.
- The 100 days ban on Twitter cost the telecoms about $366.9 million.
In September 2021, Nigeria Communications Commission shut down mobile service in Zamfara State to enable the state government to fight insecurity in the state. Similarly, in Sokoto and Katsina, the NCC restricted access to mobile service in some local governments in the state.
The Government’s Response
In responding to the dip in Internet subscribers, Isa Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, claims that the millions of subscribers that deserted the telecom networks were mostly criminals.