26 Percent Dormant Telephone lines in Nigeria

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Eugene Juwah, Vice Chairman, NCC

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Despite the introduction of telephone number portability to reduce the number of dormant lines, the Nigerian Communications Commission says inactive lines are on the increase with 26 percent dormancy rate recorded in April 2015

By Anayo Ezugwu  |  Jun 15, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT  |

THE Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has said that a total of 51,464,799 telecommunications lines in the country are now dormant. According to statistics released on Monday, June 1, by the telecommunications regulatory agency, the number of connected lines on the networks of all the telecommunications operators in the country stood at 196,941,125, while the number of active lines stood at 145,476,326.

The statistics showed that as of April 30, 2015, a total of 51,464,799 lines were dormant with a dormancy rate or churn rate of 26.13 percent. One year ago, the churn rate stood at 27.03 percent although in absolute numbers, fewer lines were dormant. As of April 30, 2014; the number of connected lines stood at 177,329,661, while the number of active lines stood at 129,391,392. This means that 47,938,269 lines were dormant a year ago.

The statistics also showed that the networks added 16,084,934 lines within the one year period. This reflects a growth rate of 12.38 percent. Segmenting the active lines according to technology showed that the Global System of Mobile communications operators had the largest chunk of lines as they accounted for 143,057,234. The Mobile Code Division Multiple Access operators accounted for 2,234,302 lines, while the fixed operators accounted for 184,790 lines.

The regulatory agency put the nation’s tele-density at 103.91 percent. Tele-density measures the number of telephone lines per 1,000 members of the population. It is derived by dividing the number of telephone lines in the country by the population figure. A number of reasons account for the high inactivity rate of the lines provided by the digital mobile networks operating in the country. These include poor services, which have characterised the networks in recent times.

Many subscribers who have been frustrated by the poor quality of services rendered by the operators find it more convenient to abandon their lines rather than carry phones that do not work when they need services desperately. They will rather switch to another service provider. Another reason for the high rate of dormant lines in the networks is the promotions targeted at attracting new subscribers. Occasionally, these promotions produce many lines, which the subscribers do not really need.

The introduction of Mobile Number Portability in May 2013 was expected to stem the tide of high churn rate as subscribers can still retain their number when they move to another network they deem to be more efficient. The MNP is an application that enables subscribers to migrate from one service provider to another without losing their numbers. It was introduced by the NCC as a means to keep the operators on their toes in terms of rendering quality services.

However, the churn rate has remained high. As of May 2013 when MNP was introduced, the number of active lines stood at 117,765,609 as against 150,888,100 connected mobile lines. This gives a dormancy rate of 33,122,491 or 21.95 percent as against the 26.13 percent recorded as of April 2015.

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