Although there are about 240 million telephone connections in Nigeria, with no fewer than 160 million active lines, the country has 93.3 million unique mobile phone subscribers.
Unique subscribers mean individual connections to a device, but Nigeria has a multi-Sims culture, which has fueled the exponential growth in telephone connections in the country in the last one and a half decade.
Speaking with The Guardian yesterday in Kigali, Rwanda at the opening of the 2018 GSMA Mobile 360 Conference, Lead Analyst, GSMA, Kenechi Okeleke, disclosed that research showed that Nigeria had 93.3 million subscribers as at last year.
He noted that by 2025, there should be an additional 37 million unique subscribers, which would push the figure further up to 130 million.
The GSMA represents and protects the interest of global mobile communications industry with over 800 members, including Nigeria.
In his welcome address, GSMA’s Head of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Akinwale Goodluck, said over half of SSA’s population would subscribe to mobile services by 2025.
Goodluck, a former MTN Nigerian chief, said the latest edition of GSMA’s Mobile Economy report forecast that there would be 634 million unique mobile subscribers across the SSA by 2025, which represents 52 per cent of the population, up from 444 million (44 per cent) in 2017.
He explained that the mobile ecosystem would add over $150 billion in financial value to SSA’s economy by 2022, representing almost eight per cent of regional gross domestic product (GDP).
Chief Regulatory Officer at GSMA, John Giusti, said: “For many people in the region, especially those in rural areas, a mobile phone is not just a communication device but also the primary channel for getting online and a vital tool for improving connectivity.
“More needs to be done to extend connectivity to the unconnected and underserved populations in Sub-Sahara Africa, but this will require focusing on long-term industry sustainability that can only be achieved through investment-friendly policies and supportive regulatory frameworks.”
Responding, Rwanda’s Minister of Information and Technology, Jean De Dien Rurangwa, pointed out that Africa needed regional integration to connect the unconnected.
He stated that the mobile ecosystem has brought rapid economic development to the country with Rwanda ranking among the leading information and communications technology (ICT) nations of the world.
He said Africa was the ideal destination for new businesses, urging governments on the continent to work on improving the region’s business climate.
Rurangwa said technology had influenced every aspect of Rwanda and changed lives positively from 14 per cent in 2008 to 72 per cent and 89 per cent in 2012 and 2016 respectively.