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Nigeria: surge in number of inactive lines

Nigeria: surge in number of inactive lines.

Stakeholders in Nigeria's telecoms space agree that an improvement in the quality of service by local operators has contributed to a significant increase in the number of inactive lines, as revealed in the latest data released this week by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

According to monthly subscriber data, the number of inactive lines increased from 65,186,763 in May to 67,331,498 in June 2016. This shows an increase of 2,144,735 inactive lines.

Industry analyst Dapo Adedayo said "I will argue that the quality of service has improved across the various networks and I will support my argument by directing attention to the days when many subscribers used to go around with 2, 3, 4 or more lines as a result of the inconsistent services by the operators. As the operators continue to improve their services and lower costs at the same time, more Nigerians will jettison their extra lines."

MTN subscriber Aderigbe Ekundayo said the NCC's compulsory SIM registration order was the main reason for the number of inactive lines. "I was out of the country when the deadline for SIM registration expired. When I came back, it was already late and I didn't bother to go from one operator to the other to reactivate the lines so I dropped the five lines I had back then and bought an entirely new MTN line instead. Buying a new line is much easier than reactivating old ones. I believe several other Nigerians are aware of this already," he said.

Despite the increase in the number of inactive lines, Nigeria's teledensity further increased though marginally – rising from 106.32% in May 2016 to 107.01% in June – a development viewed by many as a positive response to recent criticism of the nation's telecoms climate, described by some as as unattractive to investors.

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