Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Telcom sector contributes 8.8% to GDP in Q4

According to the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, the telecommunications sector alone, contributed N1,645,82 billion or 8.8% to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product  in  the last quarter of 2015.
The latest figure is slightly higher than the 8.76% contribution recorded in the same quarter of the previous year and also higher than the contribution of 7.71% recorded in the third quarter.
The increase, the bureau said, was to a large extent, due to different seasonal patterns of the telecommunications sector and whole economy.
The year on year growth rate recorded in the fourth quarter of 2015 was also 3.49%, higher than the growth rate of 2.48% recorded in the same quarter of 2014. 
The Summary Report of the Nigerian Telecommunication Sector shows that the share  of  telecommunications  in real GDP  tends  to fluctuate over the course  of  the  year,  due to different seasonal  patterns,  with an annual  averages  declined  every  year  between  2010 and 2014. 
However the full year 2015 report showed a reversal of the trend, as in each quarter, the growth rate in the telecommunications sector was higher than for the economy as whole, resulting in an increase in the sector’s contribution to the GDP.
The total number of subscribers also increased over the past year by 11.97million, or 8.61%; a slightly lower growth rate than in prior years.
Most of the increase in the number of subscribers was attributable to additional Global System for Mobile Communications, GSM, subscriptions.
The yearly increase between December 2015 and December 2014 was 8.78%, slightly higher than the growth in the overall number of subscriptions, but considerably higher than for other technology types.
The dominance of GSM users has increased slightly since December 2014, when 98.29% of subscribers used this technology type.
However it has decreased slightly since the end of the third quarter in September, when 98.52% of subscribers used GSM technology. The share of all other technology types has decreased between December 2014 and December 2015.
In December 2015, the total number of GSM subscribers was 148,681,362, an increase of 12,004,756 or 8.78% relative to December 2014.
However, this number is a decline relative to the number in October and November, when there were 149,683,259 and 149,787,120 subscribers respectively. 
According to the report, “GSM internet subscriptions rose from 97.06m at the end of q3 2015 to 97.5m in November before dropping to 97.03 in December 2015 due to a decline in subscriptions in MTN while all other providers witnessed a rise in subscriptions.”
But the number of subscribers for MTN and Etisalat in Nigeria dropped by 2.5 million in December last year.
The NBS report showed that MTN lost 1.2 million subscribers from 62.4 million subscribers in Nov to 61.2 million subscribers in December while Etisalat lost 1.3 million subscribers from 23.4 million in November to 22.1 million as at Dec.
MTN still dominated market share by December 2015, while Glo and Airtel witnessed rises in their number of subscribers. “This was driven to a large extent by Etisalat, who gained 137,466 incoming porters in 2015 compared to 69,364 in 2014, and increase of 98.18 per cent,” the report noted.

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