There seems to be hope on the horizon for telecom operators as active Internet data subscriptions gained traction for three consecutive months to the tune of 2.5 per cent between September and November, 2017, New Telegraph has learnt. The steady rebound is coming after active mobile Internet connections on all mobile networks smarted from protracted abysmal decline in previous months.
According to latest data obtained from Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the marginal growth started from September with 92.9 million. In October, it was at 93.8 million and further rose to 94.8 million in November, 2017.
After hitting an all-timehigh 97.8 million at the end of 2015, Internet data subscrip- tions crashed abysmally to 89.9 million by the end of the first quarter of 2017 and stagnated at the fourth quarter of the same year before picking up at the last quarter. While MTN led with 33.4 million, followed by Glo – 26.9 million, Airtel, 23.1 million with 9mobile trailing behind with 11.4 million.
The NCC latest data noted that while other rival networks were gaining traction, 9mobile was witnessing a decline from October with 11, 710, 658 as against 11,710,658 in September and 11,407,180 in November. Analyst said the 9mobile Internet subscription decline might not be unconnected with the $1.2 billion dollar debt saga owed to a consortium of 13 banks.
Between the time the loan crisis started in early 2017 and now, over five million subscribers have dumped their 9mobile lines or simply migrated to other networks, as the legal tussle over who takes over the 9mobile intensifies. Likewise, the report revealed that subscribers jumping from rival networks to 9mobile have declined considerably from 11,000 monthly to 3,000.
Meanwhile, some of the 9mobile subscribers, who spoke with this newspaper have pledged their unflinching loyalty to the network regardless of the situation on ground as a result of its Internet offerings that, they claimed, remains seamless.
“Why should I port when what has only changed for me is just the name of the network provider? The services have remained the same to me, “ said a computer dealer at the Ikeja Computer Village market, Mr. Akeem badmus. “I am more concerned about the deliverables of the network than the situation on ground that has gained massive media coverage already,” a subscriber at Akute area of Ifo Local Government Area in Ogun State, Mr. Kehinde Idowu, said.
Meanwhile, some subscribers have cited location as another key factor that has informed their decision to stay on 9mobile network.
According to the subscribers, there are many occasions where the signals of other network providers will fail to in their locations while it is only 9mobile that will prove to be reliable.
However, with the recent exit of Airtel from the dramatic scramble for the purchase of 9mobile following a court ruling of Friday Jan 12, 2018 nullifying the propriety the constitution of the interim board of the telecoms company, industry experts have expressed concerns over the fact that the loyalty of a larger chunk of 9mobile subscribers may not endure as things get messier.