The number of active telephone lines in the country fell by 5,601,812 in July, according to the latest report by the Nigerian Communications Communication. The number of active subscribers is now 114,760,406.
As of the end of June this year, the figure was put at 120,362,218, indicating a decline by 386,536 lines from the 120,748,754 active lines recorded in May.
The figures for March and April were put at 117,281,669 and 119,356,665 respectively by the NCC.
The decline was reflected across board, affecting the Global System for Mobile Telecommunication operators, Code Division Multiple Access operators and fixed/fixed wireless operators.
The number of GSM lines fell to 111,866,933 in July, from 117,412,363 recorded in June, while active CDMA lines fell to 2,519,602 from 2,567,177 in the same period. Active fixed/fixed wireless dropped to 373,871 from the 382,678 recorded in June.
The country’s teledensity is now 81.97 per cent. By NCC’s last statistics, it was 85.97 per cent.
Teledensity is the percentage of connected lines in relation to the population at a given period of time, and its growth is proportionate to the growth in the subscriber base.
For GSM operators, MTN has maintained its lead with 55,238,430 active lines, followed by Globacom, 25,019,862; Airtel, 21,591,904; and Etisalat, 15,303,647.
According to the NCC, the percentage of GSM, CDMA and fixed/fixed wireless lines are 97.55 per cent, 2.13 per cent and 0.32 per cent, respectively.
The industry ended 2012 with a combined subscriber base of 113.1 million, up from 95.8 million active subscriptions in January of the same year.
The NCC data, however, showed that only the GSM operators contributed to the addition in subscriber base, as the CDMA and fixed line operators recorded declines in the first quarter.
The CDMA operators comprising Visafone, Multi-Links, Starcomms and the dormant ZoomMobile, experienced a reduction in their subscriber base from 2.9 million lines in December 2012 to 2.8 million lines as of the end of January 2013.
While a little over N1tn was spent on telephone services in 2011, subscribers spent N1.14tn on the services in 2012.
With the declines being experienced in the industry lately, experts say revenue accruable to operators might also decline significantly by the end of 2013.