Nigeria’s Q3 08 growth could not match the record-breaking levels seen in the previous quarter, when 7.38m new connections were added - more than double the best figure recorded in any other African nation. However, its third-quarter boost of 4.11m was the second best figure ever recorded in the market, which is particularly impressive given that one of the top three operators, Glo, suffered a loss of 0.6m customers in the quarter. At the end of Q3, there were 55.8m connections in Nigeria, up 51% year on year with annual net additions of 18.8m.
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Source: Cellular News.
Glo’s quarterly decline saw its customer base fall to 15.6m, which allowed Celtel to seize second place in the market. It added 1.10m in the quarter to finish on 15.9m, with market share of 28.5%. This represented a gain of 1.8pp year on year, while Glo lost 3.2pp to finish on 28.0%. In terms of annual net additions, Celtel led the market with 6.03m, although the quarterly honours went to market leader MTN with a gain of 1.61m. It thereby surpassed the 20m mark during the quarter to finish on 20.2m. This leaves it just 1.3m behind Vodacom South Africa, the African continent’s largest network, and given their respective growth rates, MTN could well take the lead in 2009.
While MTN, Celtel and Glo dominate the Nigerian market, their aggregated market share of 92.6% was down from 98.4% a year earlier. Of the remaining five players, four use CDMA technology (the exception being partially state-owned Nitel, which had just a small handful of customers on its ailing mobile network). Starcomms led the way with 1.3m customers, while Multi-links had 1.1m, Visafone 1.0m and Reltel 0.7m. In total, CDMA connections reached 4.13m or 7.4% of the total, compared to just 0.8% a year earlier. Meanwhile, W-CDMA technology - which is offered by all of the big three GSM operators - surpassed 1m connections during the quarter to finish on 1.1m, or 2.0% of the total.
The latest data from Nigerian regulator the NCC shows that the market total reached 57.61m at the end of October, with monthly net additions of 1.77m.