NCC reviews tele-density as population rises to 190 million

For every 10 Nigerians, there are nine active telephone lines that are fully subscribed to by consumers in the country, the Nigerian Communications Commission has said.

In a statement made available to our correspondent in Abuja on Wednesday, Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, said the number of telephone lines as a percentage of the country’s population otherwise known as tele-density had not gone down.

He, however, explained that the regulatory commission now used the country’s rebased population of 190 million rather than the 2006 census figure of 140 million in determining the tele-density.

The NCC boss said that the active subscriber base for the month of March increased to 173.7 million from 173.6 million in February.

Telephone density or tele-density is the number of telephone connections for every hundred individuals living within an area.

Hitherto, tele-density in Nigeria had been calculated using the 140 million population official figure of 2006 against the prevailing monthly subscriber base.

According to the commission, as of February 2019 when the 140 million population figure was last used and benchmarked against the active subscriber base of 173.6 million, the country’s tele-density stood at 124.05 per cent.

The tele-density figure stood at 124.29 per cent in January with an active subscriber base of 174 million.

However, from March 2019, the commission began to use the rebased 190 million population of Nigeria as projected by the NPC, against the subscriber base of 176.7 million to calculate tele-density.

With the regulatory re-alignment by the NCC, tele-density for the country as of the end of March, 2019, was put at 91 per cent. This is based on the rebased population figure of 190 million against an active subscriber base of 173.7 million, the NCC explained.

Danbatta said, “Rather, the tele-density actually did not reduce because in March, active mobile subscriber base actually increased.

“So, what has happened is a re-alignment of the tele-density calculation with the rebased population figure of 190 million against the prevailing monthly subscriber base, which is a more realistic figure for the country in light of the latest population figure.

“This clarification is to accurately inform telecoms operators and telecoms investors, who must be provided with realistic and accurate figures needed for their day-to-day decision-making process.

Danbatta added that the clarification would also bring other stakeholders such as academia and industry researchers in tandem with the updated tele-density.