MTN Nigeria seemed to have always maintained an unfriendly position like the most expensive mtn data plan and bundles, the most expensive calls rates, the most abusive customer care and the most despised network just to mention a few. I find it difficult to understand why a telecommunication giant company like MTN would go into business in Nigeria only to continually breed hatred and dislike to herself.
Just a few days ago it became public information that MTN was no longer the most valued telecommunication company in Africa. It lost this position to the Tech Company Vodacom. How did this happen? It stemmed from the huge losses sustained in mtn data plan and mtn call rates in Nigeria. This sharp fall from glory is as a result of a streak of bad events and losses in income and fame since 2015. I would share more on the details of this as we proceed.
ACTIVE VOICE AND INTERNET DATA SUBSCRIPTIONS IN NIGERIA
It is no news that the MTN Africa milked its major revenue from the country Nigeria. Nigeria according to National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) website first quarter report (Q1), the number of active voice subscriptions stood at 148.74 million at the end of Q1 2016. It didn’t however come as a surprise that MTN accounts for the largest share; enjoying 38% of the total (57.04 million subscribers), followed by Glo with 23.2 % (34.60 million subscribers) and Airtel with 22.7% (33.86 million mobile subscribers).
Moving on, the number of active internet subscriptions stood at 92.4 million at the end of Q1 2016 with MTN accounting for the largest share of 33.35 million (36.09% of total), followed by Glo with 26.53 million subscribers (28.70 % of total) and Airtel with 17.15 million (18.56%). Lagos State accounted for the largest share of active internet subscribers with 12.62 million or 13.65% of the total, followed by Ogun State with 5.62 million subscribers or 6.09%, Oyo State with 4.90 million subscribers or 5.31% of the total, then Kaduna and Kano State with 4.23 million (4.57%) and 4.13 million (4.47%) internet subscribers respectively. On the other hand, Yobe (0.69 million), Bayelsa (0.73 million) and Ebonyi (0.79 million) had the smallest number of active internet subscriber as of Q1 2016.
STATS ON THE DECLINE IN MTN ACTIVE SUBSCRIPTIONS
Looking at the above statistics one may erroneously assume that all is cool with the tech giant especially because they still maintain the number one position in the country. This thinking would not be correct as the tech giant lost great amount subscribers in such a short time.
According to the report on NBS website, in the first three months of 2016, Globacom Nigeria benefited, gained and recorded 1,448,354 (over one million and four hundred thousand) new internet subscribers on its network!
The specific numbers recorded per month were 354,178 for January, 248,593 for February and 845,583 for March. Globacom’s (Glo Nigeria) total internet customers as at the end of the quarter stood at 26,530,420. The figure 1,448,354 for the three months under review represents 80% of the total number of 1,820,651.
In the same period, Airtel benefited by an addition of 319,229 new data subscribers, while the Etisalat Network gained 53,068 new Etisalat data plan subscribers – a combined 20% of the remaining total figure. MTN Nigeria within the same period lost over 6.5 million internet subscribers reducing from 39,924,737 to 33,356,595 active mtn data plan subscribers. This means six million and five hundred thousand Nigerians would previously subscribed to mtn data plan and bundles stopped subscribing within a three month period.
MORE SETBACKS EXPERIENCED BY MTN
As bad as losing 6 million subscribers is, sadly it has not been the end of the MTN Nigeria woes. The company was fined over a trillion naira by NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission). Yes you heard and saw that right N1TRILLION NAIRA. This catastrophic event led to the resignation of the CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa.
The loss of Mr. Sifiso Dabengwa is a major loss to MTN Nigeria because of the enormous wealth of knowledge and experience he possesses. He has occupied several very important positions within MTN during the in past 14 years. MTN Nigeria is now faced with the challenge of finding a new Chief Executive Officer who can move the company forward henceforth.
In October last year (2015), the data prize floor was removed, allowing all telecommunication networks operating in Nigeria to sell data bundles as low as they could. This move by the regulating body was quickly taken advantage of by Glo and Airtel. However, because of the Airtel Nigeria network challenges more people stuck with the Glo Network. This explains how the company managed to surpass all the other mobile networks in Nigeria.
The Glo data plans and Bundles are so affordable now that one may purchase 6 Gigabytes of data for only N2,000. On the other hand mtn data plans still sell for as high as 3.5 Gigabytes for N2,000.
WHAT MTN MUST DO TO SURVIVE THE DATA WAR
- The company must change its attitude towards customers and treat them better. It is a shame that many Nigerian subscribers still pay for mtn data plan and bundles which they never use due to network issues or bad customer care. This must stop.
- The company must become more flexible to change and be quick to implement dynamic changes. Over the years I have noticed MTN to be a company of in quote “change not until it hurts”. As much as tenacity is a virtue the company must also realize we live in a different world today where things can change very fast.
- The company must take back its leadership position again by being the first once again to initiate/innovate in the telecommunication industry.
Image By Ken Banks – originally posted to Flickr as kiwanja_south_africa_shops_5, CC BY 2.0,
Article Credit SignalNET