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Nigeria market recovers after SIM bans lifted

from OKORO CHINEDU in Lagos, Nigeria
LAGOS – NIGERIA, Africa’s largest market, has recorded modest growth in mobile subscriptions for the month of September.

Data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) indicates that active mobile lines and internet connections grew modestly, by 0,8 percent and 0,4 percent month-on-month (m/m) to 190,9 million and 140,3 million respectively.

The growth in September marks the second consecutive month of uptick, after a steady drop in subscriber numbers which started in November 2020 due to new customer identification registration requirements by the industry regulator.

Sales of new SIM cards were also temporarily halted by the NCC.

“The m/m increase in subscribers’ numbers reflects the easing of the regulator’s ban on new SIM in April ’21,” FBN Quest Capital stated.

It added the fortunes of the two major operators, Airtel and MTN were not been adversely affected by the loss of subscribers.

The pandemic is seen as having had positive impact on the earnings of network operators through increased data adoption and exponential data use for remote working and other applications such as entertainment and gaming.

After about two years of deadlock, last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria granted Airtel and MTN approval-in-principle for their mobile money payment services.

Both firms must wait for final approval from the apex bank before launching full-fledged operations.

Efina reports that 36 percent of Nigerians are still financially excluded.

Thus FBN believes the approval is a significant step toward driving mobile payments and reaching the CBN’s financial inclusion goal.

– CAJ News

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