Top telecommunication articles on Stears Business

Of all the sectors in the Nigerian economy, Telecommunications has got to be one of the Stears Business Editor-in-Chief’s favourite. And for good reasons too. In this article published a few days ago, you would find one of his stellar appraisals on the industry. Here is an excerpt:

“Telecommunications has been one of Nigeria’s brightest sparks since foreign firms came in and bought licences to operate two decades ago. Since then, this industry has grown its economic contribution and now accounts for more than 15% of our economy—higher than oil or manufacturing.”

However, using numbers is only one way of understanding the contribution of this sector to Nigeria. There is a whole world of impact to be studied around how we now learn, connect and teach using digital tools, thanks to telcos.

So, for those looking to get smarter about mobile networks & telcos, this compilation is for you.

It starts with a topic crucial for telecommunication companies’ survival. 


1. Diversify or decline: How Nigerian telcos are thinking about their income streams

As digital penetration intensifies, voice revenue, Nigerian telecoms’ main cash cow, may disappear in the next ten years. Because of this, telcos are rethinking their future and chasing new streams of income to offset the inevitable.

This article drills into the revenue model of Nigerian telcos and the timely diversification plan they’re considering.

Read the full article here


2. So is MTN a monopoly or not?

It’s been twenty years since MTN set up shop in the Nigerian market. Many people assume that MTN was Nigeria’s first telecoms operator. But it was its rival, Econet (now Airtel) that was responsible for this feat. A year later, Globacoms joined these first two firms. And in 2008, Etisalat, now known as 9mobile came on board to form the big four.

Want to know what matters when looking at a telecom’s market structure? Or who dominates what? Read this story. It is a deep dive into the market structure of the telecoms industry. It also unearths how strong MTN’s dominance truly is.

Read the full article here 


3. MTN's controversial dominance in the battle for Nigeria's airwaves

Staying on the Y’ello theme, did you know telecoms need an invisible natural resource to provide services? In this article, you'll learn about “Spectrum”—the invisible resource and how telecommunication companies battle to get it either by hook or by crook.

Read the full article here


4. Graphics: Battle of the telcos

Our next piece is a quick data story showing key statistics in the telecommunications industry. 

One data point we focus on is the number of porting subscribers. Over the last three years, MTN has seen the least number of customers porting to its rivals. It has managed to keep its customers satisfied, which can be explained by its overall strong network coverage around Nigeria. There is also one telco that has lost the most customers to its rivals—find out which today.

Read the full article here [Free to read]


5. What is going on with USSD charges in Nigeria?

USSD is a technology that binds two crucial sectors—banking and telecommunication—of most economies together. Since 2014, when banks started embracing the USSD technology in Nigeria, the volume of USSD transactions increased thirteen-fold from 28 million transactions a year to over 377 million. 

Nigerians love the convenience. It’s reliable and simple. But its charges can be sporadic and hard to keep up with. For instance, the regulators of both sectors reviewed the price of USSD transactions to ₦6.98 despite a price cap of ₦4.89. This story clears up the haze and provides a solid analysis of what you need to know about USSD usage in Nigeria.

Read the full article here


6. USSD Codes may not be as safe as we think

As you’ve seen in number 5 above, USSD is loved. Being able to perform bank transactions using your phone and without an internet connection is a genius idea. But as delightful as this is, there are risks involved, especially when users are not cautious with their phones and sim cards. 

This article from 2018 enlightens us to these risks, it’s also not behind the paywall, so enjoy!

Read the full article here [Free to Read]


7. A run for your money (part II): Banks meet telcos

We’ve been talking about the bank and telecommunication marriage for a while now. But you must be wondering how that has fared? Are these sectors really growing and benefiting from each other? If yes, how? If no. Why not? Well, the answers to these questions and more are in this story which is an articulate breakdown of the union.

Read the full article here

8. The story of 9mobile’s tussle with debt and fleeing customers

Etisalat, now known as 9mobile is one telecommunication company that has arguably the most colourful history in Nigeria’s communication space. With a sharp decline in customers, its position as part of the ‘Big Four’ telcos is precarious.  Between 2016 and last year, the company lost half of its market share. In 2019 alone, it lost three million subscribers. Why is this happening and are their remedies already being explored?

Read the full article here to find out. 

9. MainOne: West Africa’s internet connectivity giant meets its match

Google recently teamed up with Facebook to launch its African undersea cable which has started taking root in Nigerian eastern waters. Facebook's ambition has piqued our interest since last year and inspired this analysis of the potential of the undersea cable infrastructure. We also looked at how it would impact existing internet providers like MainOne. You probably don’t know this, but MainOne could be responsible for your internet connection if you live in Nigeria. They are only a decade old but are crucial in the telecoms industry.

In this story, you’d learn about MainOne’s history, the landscape of internet provision in Nigeria and what Facebook’s arrival could mean for stakeholders in the sector.

Read the full story here

10. NIN registration for SIM: Why the NCC’s policy is a terrible idea

To close out this week’s compilation is a controversial topic that keeps making the news wave since it broke late last year. In December 2020, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) directed telecom operators to block phones without a National Identity Number (NIN) attached to them by the end of this year.

We wrote on how ridiculous this directive was and summed it up in one statistic: if all 57 million mobile subscribers without a NIN decided to get one, Nigeria would have to enrol more people in two weeks than it had in the last eight years. Last week we saw stories of how telcos like MTN lost almost eight million subscribers to this initiative from the NCC. To understand the full story, read it here [Free to Read]

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