As the Telecommunication Industry in Nigeria continue to expand, the battle for market share become more fierce by the day with service providers overtaking themselves in positions in the market share chat. While those in the lead struggle to keep existing customers, others behind continue to develop market strategy to woo new subscribers. That is actually expected as consumers choice is now being determined by a lot of factors instigated by various personal, economic and business motive. The ability for provider to identify a need of consumers now determine what position it stand in the market.
As at November 29 when the Nigerian Communication Commission last updated their information, volume of telecommunication subscribers active lines have grown from 149,249,510 in April 2017 to 180,386,316 in October 2019. Within the same period, active lines have also grown from 238,678,262 to 266,746,336. This is not without fluctuation in between occasioned by economic, social and political factors
Mobile GSM operators controls 180,118,345 of the active lines and 265,613,702 of the total connected lines shared among MNT Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile. According to the information available, MTN control the larger share of the market with 65,870,174. With 50,255,796 subscribers, Globacom occupy the second position and Airtel third with 49,081,899 while 9mobile follows fourth with 14,792,206 subscribers.
Comparing with the last data, MTN added 542,070 new subscribers between September and October. Globacom on the hand added 1,044,322 new subscribers while Airtel added 172,221. The data equally shows a decline in subscribers for 9mobile from 15,334,096 in September loosing 541,890.
What are the factors that inform the choices of telecomm consumers? A close look at the movement in subscribers shares in relation to observed market strategy of the four major service providers raises some surprising significance. There seems to be less consideration among the array of factors some which ought to have had significant influence in choice of providers by consumers. These factors include Service quality, Network coverage, Call rate/tariff/price, Promotion, Customer care/ services. While all these influence choices by subscribers, which of these have greater influence? A sample of opinion by Continental Economy Magazine isolates three which are service quality, call rates/tariff/price and promotion in order of influence. In truth market strategies by the service providers are built around these three. Furthermore, these among the rest directly affect the two reason why subscribers spend on telecommunication. These are 1) subscribers spend on telecommunication to achieve business objective. To this end subscribers prefer the provider with better network quality, followed by the provider with cheaper tariff. 2) subscribers’ spending on telecommunication is influenced by financial economy. To this end, they prefer the provider that offer them highest bonuses through promos
Nigerian subscribers are now broadly divided into two categories though with close link; these are voice subscribers and data subscribers. Out of the total 180,386,316 active lines, 123,559,596 are active data users which represent 68.5 percent. In order words, the network provider that will influence this category of subscribers is the one that give access to more data. It will interest us to know that a larger chunk of these data users are between the ages of 13 and 45. By implication, much of the data is spent on social interaction.
With the economic situation where there is continuous shrink in average disposable income, coupled with the rise in unemployment among youth that are more into social interaction, subscribers get attracted to promos that gives them airtime and data bonuses.
Network providers in addition to providing quality network service have all been doing much in this area, giving free sim cards, free airtime and free data. With Globacom running its *323* and *555* recharge codes, glo yakata bonuses, credit back and many others, the network company has been doing much in this area and is acknowledged by respondents.
MTN recently introduced the *888* code which multiply airtime value by 5 added to their existing bonus packages such as goody bag, Kpalasa (deal zone) and many more.
Airtel’s voice+ bundle gives subscribers huge voice access with data to compliment. This has kept Airtel subscribers happy all through. The Talkmore bundles like other networks multiply airtime value by 5.
9mobile easy click gives 5mb and N125 airtime on every N100 recharge. There are other packages designed to keep customers and attract new ones
The Nigerian consumers of telecom services are therefore truly reaping from the fierce competition having moved from N50 per minute now to free airtime. While there is still complain about the general network issues, most respondents acknowledged the market strategy and expect more to come.