The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reported the country’s total wireless subscriber base increased by 55.9% in 2008, reaching 62.99 million at the end of the year. Fourth quarter net additions stood at 7.15 million, just shy of the national record of 7.38 million, set in Q2 2008. The NCC has released individual figures for the country’s operators for the first time; market leader MTN Nigeria ended 2008 with 23.08 million customers, Zain Nigeria (Celtel) recorded 17.2 million, overtaking Glo Mobile in Q3 due to the latter’s loss of 610,000 subscribers during the period, finishing 2008 with just over 16 million customers.
In addition to the three main players, there are several relatively new networks, all but one of which use CDMA technology. With 2.21 million customers at the end of the year, Visafone became the country’s largest CDMA operator and the fourth largest network operator altogether. It added 980,000 customers in Q4, only its fourth quarter of commercial mobile service. Meanwhile, Multilinks added 510,000 customer to end the year with 1.99 million, Starcomms gained 360,000 during the quarter to total 1.16 million and Reliance added 70,000 to finish with 700,000 in its second quarter of operation. Recently launched GSM operator, Etisalat-managed Emerging Markets Telecommunications, performed well in its first quarter, gaining 400,000 customers. The NCC reported that as a whole, the CDMA sector totalled 6.05 million customers, more than 15 times higher than the year-earlier customer base of 380,000 and also recorded another 1.31 million fixed-wireless lines.