Two major telecommunications companies in Nigeria, Airtel Nigeria and Globacom, go head to head in a battle to clinch and sustain the position of the second biggest Global System for Mobile Communications company in the country. Airtel is currently the second biggest telcom in Nigeria by subscriber base with 26 per cent market share while Globacom ranks the third with 25 per cent market share.
However, MTN Nigeria remains the biggest network provider in the country with 40 per cent market share. While the fourth mobile network operator, 9mobile, holds nine per cent market share.
In the past nine months, analysis of the data obtained from the Nigerian Communications Commission indicated that Airtel was the second largest telecoms service provider for four months intermittently. The four months are January, February, August and September in 2018, according to the NCC data.
However, Globacom held the position as the second largest network provider by market share for five consecutive months this year. According to NCC subscriber data, the months are March, April, May, June, July and August. Analysts said the two telecoms operators are competing to retain their existing subscribers and attract new ones to their networks by coming up with different tariff plans.
In July this year, Airtel Nigeria introduced a 100 per cent bonus to new customers on any data bundle purchased and eight times the value of any recharge.
Under the new offer, new customers get 100 per cent bonus on every data bundle of N100 and above, and also get eight times bonus on any recharge, which will be split along the main account, 100 per cent; voice, 250 per cent; data, 250 per cent; social, 100 per cent and family and friends, 100 per cent.
In the following month, Globacom also launched ‘Oga SIM’ targeted at new subscribers and offering 125 per cent bonus to new data subscribers and existing subscribers, who have not used their data services in the last three months on the Glo network.
Also in the same month, Globacom offered tariff reduction on international calls to over 200 countries for subscribers on its network by 85 per cent.
A former President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr Lanre Ajayi, said the strategies that would increase the market share of the mobile network operators include improved quality of service, clarity in tariff and offers, and ease of accessing service.
He said, “Clarity of pricing is also important. Your pricing may be cheap but may not be clear. There may be complexity around it. When there are free offers that are not clear, people get confused. It is not just a reduction in tariff that is important, clarity is equally important.
“Also, if the pricing is cheap and people cannot access the service on the network, they will move to another one. Availability of service is also key. There are some networks without coverage in certain areas of the country. Once people move to certain places, their network is not available. You can be sure that customers that travel around will not be happy with that.”
In the past nine months, NCC data showed that Airtel Nigeria added over four million new subscribers to its network while Glo gained over two million new customers.
As of September 2018, Airtel, headquartered in New Delhi, India, had 41.3 million subscribers while Globacom, an indigenous telecommunications company, had 40.9 million subscribers.