Major African Mobile Markets: Nigeria

Nigeria has a federal republic form of government and has recently undergone transition from military rule to civil rule. Due to the absence of a government accountable for its actions, Nigeria has faced problems of political instability and corruption in the past, and the country is now in the process of establishing itself as a reliable and trustworthy international business community.

Nigeria has a vast population base of more than 125 million people, more than France and the UK combined, and a rich cultural diversity with approximately 250 ethnic groups living in this one country. 

Nigeria's economy is dependent on both agriculture and oil earnings. The country is currently undergoing several economic reforms and faces issues with the privatisation of different industries. Political instability, a high level of dependence on oil reserves, which are affected by world price variations, a large population base and many other factors have slowed the economic growth of Nigeria.

The government took various initiatives during 2003-2004 to boost economic growth in Nigeria, such as deregulating fuel prices, the privatisation of the country's four oil refineries, etc., and as a consequence, GDP rose significantly.76

Table 1 provides an overview of the country's key economic parameters.

Table 1: Nigeria - Important Economic Parameters (2004) 

Source: Portio Research Ltd.

Figure 1 illustrates the trends and forecasts for mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Nigeria for the 10-year period from 2002 to 2011.

Figure 1: Nigeria - Mobile Subscribers and Penetration (2002-2011)

Source: Portio Research Ltd.

Mobile Network Operators

Nigeria's mobile market is competitive in nature with four operators providing mobile services. However, the three leading operators together accounted for more than 90 percent of the country's total subscribers at the end-November 2005, and the fourth operator is a much smaller player in the market.

Figure 2 provides the market share of the various operators in Nigeria's mobile market in terms of subscriber base at the end-November 2005.

Figure 2: Nigeria - Market Share of Mobile Network Operators (December 2009)

Source: Company Reports

Table 4 provides an overview of the operator's key performance indicators.

Table 4: MTN Nigeria - Key Performance Indicators (FY end-March 2005)