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Nigeria - Mobile Market - Insights, Statistics and Forecasts


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Nigeria - Mobile Market - Insights, Statistics and Forecasts

Nigeria is Africa's largest mobile market with more than 125 million subscribers and a market penetration of around 75% in early 2014. The rapid growth has led to problems with network congestion and quality of service, prompting the regulatory authority NCC to impose fines and sanctions. Every year the network operators are investing billions of dollars in additional base stations and fibre optic transmission to support the ever increasing demand for bandwidth. According to some estimates, the number of cell sites in the country currently around 20,000 could more than triple in the coming years.

At the same time, efforts are being made to limit the environmental impact of further expansion and to encourage infrastructure sharing. Major tower outsourcing deals have been concluded. Much of the remaining addressable market is in the country's rural areas where network rollouts and operations are expensive. This in combination with declining ARPU levels is forcing the networks to streamline their operations and to develop new revenue streams from services such as third and fourth generation (3G/4G) mobile broadband, mobile payments/banking, and others.

Not every operator makes it in this highly competitive market. M-Tel, the mobile arm of the national telco Nitel is in liquidation together with its parent company, following a decade of failed privatisation attempts. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are going on amongst the country's other smaller operators, many originating from the fixed-wireless sector using CDMA-2000 technology. Some of them hold suitable frequency spectrum for a technology migration to Long Term Evolution (LTE). Several other LTE networks have already been launched.

Although the market is one of the most competitive in Africa, the industry regulator is tightening price caps and mandating further reductions of interconnect rates. Following years of delays, Mobile Number Portability (MNP) was finally introduced in 2013, promising to make the market even more competitive. The terrorist group Boko Haram has created difficulties for network provision and maintenance in the northern states, a difficulty which neither the government nor operators are properly positioned to address.

Key developments:

Additional 79 BTS installed under the USPF program; Airtel Nigeria sells 4,800 towers to AMC; regulator delays auction of 2x70MHz block of spectrum for mobile broadband use; Smile Communications extends LTE each; government cracks down on substandard mobile devices; CDMA operators close shop following financial difficulties; Etisalat sells its 2,136 tower infrastructure; tens of thousands of new base stations to be built; major network management contracts; mergers and acquisitions among smaller operators; M-Tel/Nitel in liquidation; several LTE networks launched; regulator cracks down on poor quality of service; new price caps and lower interconnection rates; Mobile Number Portability introduced; report includes operator data to Q3 2014, regulator's market data updates to September 2014, recent market developments.

Companies covered in this report:

MTN Nigeria; Glo Mobile (Globacom); Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel); Etisalat Nigeria (EMTS, Mubadala); M-Tel (Nitel); Visafone; Starcomms (Capcom); Multi-Links; Reliance; Intercellular; Megatech Engineering (Zoda Fones); Telkom SA; Econet Wireless; Vodacom.


1. Synopsis
2. Overview of Nigeria's mobile market
2.1 Mobile statistics
2.2 Tower infrastructure
3. Regulatory issues
3.1 GSM licence terms
3.2 Interconnection
3.3 Mobile tariffs
3.3.1 Per-second billing
3.3.2 SMS price caps
3.4 International gateways
3.5 Unified licensing regime
3.6 Universal service
3.7 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
3.8 Central equipment identity register
3.9 Quality of Service
3.10 SIM card registration
3.11 Equal access for mobile content providers
3.12 Consumer protection against billing irregularities
4. Spectrum auctions
4.1 3.5GHz
4.2 800MHz
4.3 700MHz
4.4 2.5GHz and 2.6GHz
4.5 450MHz
4.6 3G mobile spectrum
4.7 LTE/WiMAX spectrum (2.3GHz)
5. Major GSM mobile operators
5.1 MTN Nigeria
5.1.1 Financial results 2009-2014
5.1.2 Network infrastructure and coverage, capital expenditure (capex)
5.1.3 National backbone network
5.1.4 Services
5.1.5 Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)
5.1.6 Major acquisitions
5.2 Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain/Celtel Nigeria)
5.2.1 Financial results before Bharti takeover
5.2.2 Network infrastructure and coverage
5.2.3 National backbone network
5.2.4 Services
5.2.5 ARPU
5.3 Globacom
5.3.1 Network infrastructure and coverage
5.3.2 Fibre optic backbone network
5.3.3 Services
5.4 Etisalat Nigeria (EMTS, Mubadala)
5.4.1 ARPU
5.5 M-Tel
6. CDMA operators
6.1 Multi-Links Telkom
6.2 Reliance Telecommunications Ltd (Reltel, Zoom)
6.3 Starcomms (Capcom)
6.3.1 Subscriber statistics
6.3.2 Financial results 2007-2011
6.3.3 Merger with Multi-Links and MTS First Wireless
6.4 Intercellular Nigeria
6.5 Visafone
6.5.1 Cell Communications Ltd (Cellcom)
6.5.2 Bourdex Telecommunications
7. Mobile data services
7.1 SMS
7.1.1 Premium-rate SMS, interactive TV (iTV)
7.2 MMS
7.3 GPRS, EDGE
7.4 WAP
7.5 CDMA2000 1x
7.6 Mobile money transfer, m-banking
7.7 M-health
8. Mobile TV
9. 3G
9.1 Licensing
9.2 Globacom
9.3 Airtel
9.4 MTN
9.5 Etisalat Nigeria
9.6 CDMA-2000 1x EV-DO
10. Long-term Evolution (LTE)
11. Smartphones
12. Satellite mobile
13. Forecasts mobile subscribers 2015; 2018
13.1 Notes on scenario forecasts
14. Related reports
Table 1 Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Nigeria 1998 - 2004
Table 2 Mobile subscribers (active) and penetration rate in Nigeria 2005 - 2015
Table 3 Mobile market share of subscribers by operator 2011 - 2014
Table 4 Mobile subscribers (GSM) by operator, technology Sept 2014
Table 5 Mobile subscribers (CDMA) by operator, technology Sept 2014
Table 6 GSM mobile internet subscribers by operator 2014
Table 7 MTN mobile subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 8 MTN Nigeria financial data 2010 - 2014
Table 9 MTN Nigeria ARPU 2002 - 2014
Table 10 Airtel mobile subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 11 Zain Nigeria ARPU 2006 - 2009
Table 12 Globacom mobile subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 13 Etisalat mobile subscribers 2011 - 2014
Table 14 CDMA subscribers by operator 2011 - 2014
Table 15 Starcomms Nigeria total and mobility/mobile subscribers 2005 2014
Table 16 Visafone mobile subscribers 2013 - 2014
Table 17 Glo Mobile Nigeria 3G HSDPA pricing 2013
Table 18 Airtel Nigeria 3G HSPA+ pricing 2013
Table 19 MTN Nigeria 3G HSDPA pricing 2013
Table 20 Visafone Nigeria CDMA-2000 1x and EV-DO pricing 2013
Table 21 Forecast mobile subscribers in Nigeria 2015; 2018
Chart 1 Mobile subscribers and penetration 2005 - 2015
Exhibit 1 Ownership battle from EWN to Vee Networks to V-Mobile to Zain to Bharti Airtel

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