The Nigerian Telecommunications industry over the past decade has experienced significant growth as evidenced by the growth in the number of telecom subscriber and infrastructural development to mention a few.
  • The Nigerian telecom industry in August, 2011 celebrated a decade of telecom revolution and more significantly the introduction of Global System of Mobile Communications (GSM) in August, 2001.
  • Prior to the liberalization of the Nigerian Telecom industry, there were just about 508,316 lines with a teledensity of 0.45; there has however been a significant improvement as total active subscriptions as at June 2012 stood at 102,369,999 with teledensity at 73.12.

    Figure 1: Trend of Total Lines & Teledensity (1999 - June 2012)
  • Installed capacity as at June, 2012 was 208,659,327, while total connected lines stood at 136,041,999.
  • The Nigerian telecom industry is primarily driven by the Mobile (GSM) market segment as this segment accounts for about 96% of the entire telecom market while the Mobile (CDMA) and Fixed/ Fixed Wireless segments account for about 3.5% and 0.5% respectively.

    Figure 2: Percentage of Market Share of Service Deployment by Technology as at June, 2012
  • Total national access to mobile phones in year 2011 stood at 63.9% with half of the population claiming ownership of the mobile devices. A further breakdown reveals that 84.0% of the urban population has access to mobile phones while 58.5% of rural population has access to mobile phones. (National Bureau of Statistics Report 2011)

    Figure 3: Market Share of Mobile Operators as at June, 2012
  • The four major players in Nigeria’s Mobile (GSM) market: MTN Nigeria; GLOBACOM; AIRTEL; and EMTS have a market share of 44%; 22%; 20%; & 14% respectively.
  • Total outgoing/ incoming mobile International traffic in minutes as at December, 2011 was over 1.29 billion while local and national telephone traffic (also in minutes) stood at over 45.23 billion in 2011.
  • A total number of 1,305,887,172 outgoing SMS messages were generated in 2011 while 1,328,937,160 incoming SMS messages were generated in 2011.

    Figure 4: Use of Mobile Phones by sex
  • The distribution of ownership of telecommunications devices by sex shows that 64.5 per cent of the population that use Mobil phone are males while the remaining 35.5 per cent are females.

    Figure 5: Use of Mobile Phones by Age Groupings
  • Figure 5: shows that 35 per cent of the mobile phones are used by those within ages 25-35 and followed by those within the age of 36-45 which constitute 24.19 per cent of the population of mobile phone users. The least are those within ages greater than 55 constituting only 5.9 per cent of the mobile phone users.

    Figure 6: Distribution of use of mobile phones by the Education level
  • The distribution of mobile phone usage according the highest level of education shows that mobile phone usage increases with the level of education of the individual. This is clear by the fact that more than half of the population use mobile telephones have tertiary education, followed by those with secondary education that accounts for 24.4 per cent and individuals with no formal education only occupy 2.3 percent of the chart.

    Figure 7: Usage of communications facilities in Nigeria
  • Overall, mobile phones are the most used communications facility in Nigeria. It constitutes 94.32 per cent of the communication facilities followed by the Internet which made up only 3.80 percent of the population. Most of the fixed lines are no longer functioning in Nigeria as before the emergence of mobile phones.


  • National access to Internet in year 2011 stood at 3.6%. A further breakdown reveals that 11.6% of the urban population has access to the Internet while only 1.5% of the rural population has access to the Internet.

    Figure 8: Percentage of Internet Access in Nigeria- 2011

    Figure 9: Proportion of Households with Internet Access
  • A high proportion of richer households are connected to Internet at home compared to the poor or households at the low income level. These households can afford internet modem and thus subscribe to the Internet services that are now being provided by telecommunications companies.

Contributions To Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

  • While the Nigerian economy is largely described as oil driven economy being a major oil producing nation, the non oil sector has also continued to be a major driver of the economy. As at 1st Quarter, 2012, Real GDP grew by 6.17% and this growth was largely driven by non-oil sector.
  • The telecoms industry has consistently contributed to Nigeria’s GDP and the growth of the economy over the past decade. Telecoms contribution to GDP has increased from about 0.62% in Year 2001 to 7.22% as at March, 2012 while also recording a real GDP growth of 32.83% in the first quarter of 2012 making it the largest driver of growth of the economy.

    Figure 10: Percentage Contribution of Telecommunications to GDP as at Mar, 2012
  • Nigeria commenced a SIM card registration exercise in May, 2011 with the primary objectives of: assisting security agencies in resolving crimes and by extension enhance the security of the State; facilitating the collation of data on phone usage in Nigeria; enabling Operators have a predictable profile about the users in their networks; and enabling the effective implementation of other value added services such as number portability amongst others.