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CDMA operators lose 1.14 million telephone subscribers


News » Business
Lagos

Image: Telecommunications Mast

April/11/2013

 

Digital mobile telecommunications operators deploying the Code Division Multiple Access technology lost a total of 1,140,865 subscribers from February 2012 to January 2013, the Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed.

Statistics provided by the regulatory agency showed that mobile telecommunications service providers deploying the CDMA technology had a total of 4,031,820 active lines in February 2012, but by the end of January 2013, the active subscribers had declined to 2,890,955. This showed a decline of 28.3 per cent.

The declining subscriber base of the CDMA operators is reflective of the difficult times they have fallen into in recent times.

Some of the operators using the CDMA technology in the country are Visafone, Starcomms Limited, MultiLinks and Reliance Telecoms (ZoomMobile).

Although CDMA technology is popular in the United States, its acceptability in Nigeria nosedived with the introduction of the Global System for Mobile Communication, which is more popular in Europe.

Early operators that deployed the technology also had lesser resources for massive and national roll-out as some of them confined their operations to limited number of cities.

According to statistics provided by NCC, the individual operators’ subscriber base as at March 2012 stood at Starcomms, 725, 871; Visafone, 2,495,790; MultiLinks, 680,960; and ZoomMobile, 111,077; giving a total of 4,033,661.

A number  of factors account for the declining fortunes of the CDMA operators. These include their inability to match the competitive edge and financial backbone of the GSM operators; the perception of subscribers; limited CDMA handsets in the Nigerian market and the general high churn rate in the telecommunications industry.

Although within the one-year period, the subscriber base of the telecommunications industry rose by 17,875,804 new lines, growth was only witnessed in the active GSM sub-sector as other technologies experienced declines.

Apart from the CDMA operators who lost 1,140,865 lines, fixed wired and fixed wireless services declined from 578,152 lines in February 2012 to 406,222 lines by the end of January 2013. This represents a decline of 29.74 per cent.

Within the one-year period, however, the active GSM subscriber base rose from 92,006,608 to 111,195,207. This showed an addition of 19,188,599 lines or a growth rate of 20.86 per cent.

High interconnection debts among the operators have also contributed to the worsening fortunes of the CDMA operators.

The smaller operators end up accumulating huge interconnect debts because their subscribers generate calls that usually terminate on the networks of bigger operators and they have to pay for these.

In a policy initiative intended to help the smaller operators, NCC recently rolled out new interconnection rates that would enable the smaller operators pay lesser for calls terminating on bigger networks, while receiving higher for calls terminating on their networks but originating from the bigger networks.

 

Article Credit: Punch Newspaper

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Updated 4 Years ago
 

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