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How telcos paid ₦110.1B telecoms fines in 2019

How telcos paid ₦110.1B telecoms fines in 2019

Telecoms companies operating in Nigeria paid telecoms fines totaling 110,148,803,968 to the industry regulator in 2019, a marginal fraction higher than the 110,120,709,885 they paid the preceding year, regulatory filings reviewed by Technology Times have shown.

The largest mobile network operator, MTN Nigeria, parted with the lion share of each year’s total sanction fees when it paid 110,000,000,000 and 110,005,000,000 in 2019 and 2018 respectively.

The hefty fines paid by telcos in 2019 is one of the downsides of a chequered year that continue to witness telecoms growth and development, the year report by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) further reveals

The Nigerian Telecoms sheriff: Professor Umar Danbatta, Nigerian Communications Commission Executive Vice Chairman and CEO

“Glo lost 6.51% of their 3G subscribers followed by MTN with a 2.67% decline in their 3G subscriber base, EMTS with 1.32% decline and Visafone with 0.21% decline. Airtel was the only operator to record a 0.7% increase in their 3G subscriber base as at the year-end of 2019”


MTN Nigeria’s huge sanctions payments are linked with the negotiated payment terms with the government over the unprecedented fines imposed against the telco in 2015 by NCC over improperly registered SIM cards on its network.

The NCC’s sanctions earnings in 2019 totaling 110,148,803,968 were paid by 24 telcos and licensees of the telecoms regulator, while the 2018 sanctions earnings totaling 110,120,709,885 were paid by 12 companies.

While the largest MNO paid the highest sanction fee of 110,000,000,000 in 2019, its competitor, Airtel Nigeria, paid 80,500,000 followed by Emerging Market Telecoms Services Limited trading as 9mobile, and Glomobile Limited with 12,001,000 and 7,000,000 respectively for infractions that were not stated by NCC.

Nigeria telecoms fines: Who paid what?

Company 2019
Vodacom Business Africa (Nig) Ltd56,398,500
Tenna Comm Ltd2,953,125
Net Access Communication Ltd2,000,000
MTN Nigeria110,000,000,000110,005,000,000
Airtel Limited80,500,000N20,500,000
Emerging Markets Telecom Serv Limited12,001,000
Globacom Nigeria Ltd10,000,000
Glomobile Ltd7,000,000
Renna Telecoms Limited2,935,125
Simbanet Nigeria Ltd5,999,8439,000,000
Funmobile Ltd2,000,000
Gatpoint Technologies8,260
Main One Cable Co. Nigeria Ltd.3,250,000
Swiftalk Ltd2,500,0001,100,000
70th Precinct Ltd2,000,000
Avyra Systems Ltd2,000,000
Cloud Interactive Association2,000,000
Conviva Technologies Nig Ltd1,000,000
Coscharis Technologies Ltd5,000,000
CWG Plc 5,000,000
Hedgecom Tech Nigeria Limited5,000,000
Khal Communication Nig Ltd300,000
Nairtime Nigeria Limited250,000
Nextgen Telesolutions Ltd2,000,000
Orange Business Communication2,000,000
Raeanna Nigeria Limited2,000,000
Swift Networks Ltd100,000
Swiftalk Ltd2,000,000
Tecovas Solutions & Services Limited5,000,000
Ver Se Global Innovation Limited1,000,000
Web Fontaine Nigeria Ltd1,200,000
Source: Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Meanwhile, a comparative review of the performance of the telecoms industry in the year 2018 against year 2019 reveals that total active voice subscriptions increased from 172,871,094 subscriptions as at year-end 2018 to 184,699,409 subscriptions as of year-end 2019, according to the NCC information. 

This indicates a 6.4% increase in active voice subscriptions (an increase of 11,828,315) and a corresponding increase of 6.4% in teledensity within the period.

The GSM market segment growth, which accounted for a major increase in voice subscriptions when compared to the statistical behaviour of other market segments such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) and Fixed/Fixed Wireless market segment, may likely have been aided by “the festive seasonal trends of subscriptions, sustained marketing activities and improved network performance.”

In Nigeria, the Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) segment was largely prompted by the rapid changes in technology and the development of the Internet which brought with it a vast array of innovations regarding communication by segment operators like Smile Communications Limited and Natcom Development & Investment Limited (Ntel) with a total connected lines of 775,374 and active subscriber base of 120,706 as at December 2018, NCC says. By the end of year 2019, this had increased to a total connected lines of 952,292 and active subscription of 166,068, thereby recording an added active subscriber base of 45,362.

Nigeria’s national teledensity profile also increased from 90.56% as of December 2018 to 96.76% as at the end of December 2019 with a year on year increase of 6.4%, considering the increase in active voice subscriptions from 172,871,094 subscriptions as of year-end 2018 to 184,699,409 subscriptions as at year-end 2019. The is was based on an approximate population of 190,000,000 Nigerians. 

NCC says that teledensity, which reflects the ratio of the number of connected lines to population which is usually expressed as a percentage further “providing valuable insight into the level of adoption, penetration, and acceptability of the telecoms service” because it depends on two critical variables of total number of active voice subscriptions and national population figure.

The year 2019 ended with the Mobile GSM segment representing 99.8% market share of service deployment by technology while the Fixed wired/wireless & VoIP segment shared a 0.2% market share in this service category. 

Out of the 99.8% telecoms market controlled by GSM networks, the year ended with MTN having the highest market share of 37.3% while Globacom, Airtel, EMTS, and Visafone each recorded 28%, 27.2%, 7.4%, and 0.1% of the telecom market share respectively.

Mobile internet subscriptions showed a 12.5% growth rate within the year from 112,065,740 subscriptions in December 2018 to 126,065,740 subscriptions as of December 2019, an increase which NCC increase attributed “to a general campaign of data bundle promos undertaken by the operators to lure customers back to their individual network and increase revenue.”  

Within the year, total active 3G internet subscriptions trend for five mobile GSM operators, MTN, Glo, Airtel, EMTS (9mobile), and Visafone from November to December 2019 showed that “Glo lost 6.51% of their 3G subscribers followed by MTN with a 2.67% decline in their 3G subscriber base, EMTS with 1.32% decline and Visafone with 0.21% decline. Airtel was the only operator to record a 0.7% increase in their 3G subscriber base as at the year-end of 2019”, NCC says.

On the 4G internet subscriptions trend for six operators, MTN, Glo, Airtel, EMTS, Smile, and Ntel,  “MTN has the highest number of 4G subscribers as of December 2019 (10,495,632) while Glo, Airtel, EMTS, Smile, and NTEL each have (1,756,142), (7,689,284), (1,430,157), (288,647), and (52,354), respectively as at year-end December 2019.”

NCC says that the Nigerian telecoms industry’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product “has been impactful and strategically important to socio-economic development in Nigeria” as it peaked at 1.701 trillion, representing 9.20% of GDP as at the end of Q3 2019.

“As derived from the compilation of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the contribution from the sector grew from 8.39% in Q3 2018 to 9.20% in Q3 2019 representing an increase of 0.81% year-on-year. However, in comparison with Q2 2019 to Q3 2019 the sector experienced a decline from 11.39% to 9.20% respectively”, NCC says.

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