2015 Sees General Decline In Quality Of Service Of Mobile Telecommunication Operators Even As Dual Line Usage Increases

Abuja, Nigeria. December 15th, 2015 – A poll conducted based on a partnership between NOIPolls Limited and BusinessDay Media has revealed that in the face of continuous expansion in the Nigerian mobile telecommunications industry, a cross view of the mobile network operators revealed a general decline in the proportion of subscribers who think they are getting value for money from their main network operators. This perception which cuts across all operators is mainly due to high tariff, poor network service, poor promotions and undue credit deductions as reported by the respondents. For instance, almost half of the subscribers who use MTN as their main line think they are not getting value for money from this provider in 2015 (46 percent); representing a 6 point increase from 2014 (40 percent), although slightly more than half of the subscribers believe they are getting value for money. Similarly, the quality of service provided by Etisalat seemed to have declined consistently from 2013 (97 percent) to 2015 (65 percent), thus depicting a decline in the level of satisfaction of subscribers to this operator.

More findings revealed that more Nigerians have adopted the use of two lines either from the same network provider or from two different operators over the years. This trend has consistently increased from 2013 (40 percent) to 2015 (49 percent) with a total of 9-points within the period in view. In view of this, majority of subscribers use MTN either as their main line or as a supplementary line and this has been the trend from 2012 with the current figure standing at 96 percent.  This represents a far margin between the use of MTN lines and other lines such as Airtel, Etisalat and Glo, in terms of the proportion of subscribers. This is no surprise considering the first mover advantage MTN had over these other operators in the mobile telecommunications industry. Moreover, MTN topped the chart as the operator that provides the best services in 2015. This perception is commonly shared across subscribers who either use MTN or other operators as their main line.

Finally while the Nigerian telecommunication industry continues to expand even with the introduction of new and more service offerings, it is pertinent that The Nigerian Communications Commission which is empowered to establish minimum Quality of Service (QoS) standards in service delivery for the telecommunications industry and all other stakeholders becomes more vigilant; to ensure that consumers continue to have access to high quality telecommunications service by setting basic minimum quality levels for all operators.

Brief Background

The Nigerian Telecommunication sector has witnessed significant growth over the years and has remained one of the fastest growing sectors of the Economy. According to Nigerian Telecommunication Commission (NCC) statistics, there are over 150 million active telephone lines, while Teledensity exceeds 100% at 107.61% 1. With the growing number of internet subscriptions, both cell phone manufacturers and telecommunication service providers are witnessing tremendous profit in the Nigerian market. A research material by Pyramid Research disclosed that Nigeria's telecoms industry generated about $9.8b in 2014, while another investigation by LEADERSHIP news report revealed that Nigerians spend about N212 Billion monthly on phone calls2.

The glaring question with the above statistics is whether Nigerians are actually getting value for their money with the quality of services provided by the telecom operators. There are various complaints by Nigerians due to irregularities or poor standard of service ranging from; poor network coverage, high tariff, promotions, customer service, as well as faster or slower internet causing them to have more than one SIM card so as to enjoy the most out of the telecom services provided in Nigeria as it is not yet possible to get all from one network.

Against this background, NOIPolls in partnership with BusinessDay media conducted a special edition poll on telecommunications in Nigeria, to explore the current state of the sector from the perspective of consumers. The poll sought to measure the mobile phone usage patterns in Nigeria, as well as the quality of services provided by telecommunications providers in Nigeria.

Survey Findings

Findings from the poll revealed that over the years, more Nigerians have adopted the use of two lines either from the same network provider or from two different operators. This trend has consistently increased from 2013 (40 percent) to 2015 (49 percent) with a total of 9-points within the period in view. Apart from the non-reliance of subscribers on one line due to some issues generally associated with mobile telecommunications in Nigeria, this trend may also have been promoted by an increased introduction of dual sim mobile devices in to the market, thus making it less expensive and more convenient to own more than one phone line.

An assessment of the mobile network providers used by Nigerians revealed that majority of Nigerians use MTN either as their main line or as a supplementary line and this has been the trend from 2012 with the current figure standing at 96 percent.  This is followed by Airtel, although with a decline by 12 points in the proportion of subscribers from 2014 (45 percent) to 2015 (33 percent). These findings further support latest industry status report released by the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which revealed that there were 150.6 million active mobile subscriptions on telecoms networks with teledensity standing at 107.61. Of this figure, MTN Nigeria had 62.4 million, Globacom came second with 31.3 million, Airtel had 31.1 million while Etisalat came fourth with 23.4 million subscribers.

The poll further sought to establish the Network lines subscribers most frequently use and findings revealed that MTN has consistently taken the lead as the most frequently used line for mobile phone subscribers with current figures standing at 88 percent of mobile network subscribers. This represents a 12-point increase from 2014 where the proportion of subscribers who use MTN as their main line stood at 76 percent. On the other hand, Airtel which had the second largest subscribers who confirmed it as their main line in 2014 experienced a significant decline by 11-points in 2015, thus bringing its current figure to 4 percent; and at par with Glo (4 percent) and Etisalat (4 percent).

With continuous expansion in the Nigerian mobile telecommunications industry, there are growing concerns about the quality of service offered by mobile telecommunications operators, as well as their marketing campaigns which sometimes leave consumers frustrated. In view of this, subscribers of the mobile networks were asked their opinion in terms of the value for money they receive from their main network provider. Findings revealed a general decline in the proportion of subscribers who think they are getting value for money from their main network operator; cutting across all operators. While MTN has the largest number of subscribers compared to other network providers, slightly more than half of these subscribers think they are getting value for money from this provider in 2015 (54 percent). This figure represents a 6 point decline from 2014 (60 percent). Similarly, Etisalat seemed to have declined consistently from 2013 (97 percent) to 2015 (65 percent), thus depicting a decline in the level of satisfaction subscribers are getting from this operator.

Further analysis on the perception of subscribers on their main network providers revealed that some subscribers who reported they are not receiving value for money mainly emphasized on high tariff, poor network service, poor promotions and undue credit deduction from mobile telecommunication operators with this perception cutting across all operators, although with varying degree of priority for individual operators. For instance, Nigerians who use Glo as their main line seemed to be more concerned about the poor network compared with the perceived high tariff of this operator; while Etisalat and Airtel subscribers were more concerned with high tariff and followed by poor promotions.

Still in the bid to measure the perception of mobile network operators, respondents were asked which mobile network operator provides the best services and findings illustrated in the chart below revealed that MTN topped the chart as the operator that provides the best services. This perception is commonly shared across subscribers who either use MTN or other operators as their main line; this implies that the vast majority of subscribers who use other operators other than MTN as their main lines still consider MTN top in this capacity. Etisalat came in second place regardless of its usage by subscribers as their main line.

In conclusion, there has been an increased usage of dual lines over the period of 2012 to 2015, evidenced by a total of 9-points increase within the period in view. Majority of mobile phone subscribers use MTN either as their main line or as a supplementary line and this has been the trend from 2012 with the current figure standing at 96 percent.  MTN has consistently taken the lead as the most frequently used line for mobile phone subscribers with current figures standing at 88 percent; representing a 12-point increase from 2014. On the other hand, Airtel which had the second largest subscribers who confirmed it as their main line in 2014 experienced a significant decline by 11-points in 2015, thus bringing its current figure to 4 percent; and at par with Glo (4 percent) and Etisalat (4 percent). Even with the increasing rate of dual mobile lines, there still appears to be growing concerns about the quality of services offered by the network operators. This is evidenced by with a general decline in the proportion of subscribers who think they are getting value for money from their main network operators; especially in the area of high tariff, poor network service, poor promotions and undue credit deduction; with this perception cutting across all operators.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in week of 7th December 2015. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%.

NOIPolls Limited, No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com.

About BusinessDay Media

BusinessDay, established in 2001, is a daily business newspaper based in Lagos, Nigeria. It is the only Nigerian newspaper with a bureau in Accra, Ghana. BusinessDay Media Ltd is the leading medium for up-to-date news and insightful analysis of business, policy and the economy in Nigeria, a critical decision-making tool for investors and managers. It provides unbiased news and informed analysis on politics, governance, social and economic trends.

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited and authorised for release by BusinessDay Media on the NOIPolls media platform to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect its views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

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[1] http://www.ngrguardiannews.com/2015/06/nigerias-active-phone-lines-hit-145-4-million-teledensity-now-103-91/.

[2] http://leadership.ng/news/451362/nigerians-spend-n212bn-on-phone-calls-monthly

[4] https://iwpr.net/global-voices/nigerian-telecoms-firms-frustrate-subscribers