Mobile subscriber information posted on the website of the National Communication Authority (NCA) indicates that between 2009 and 2010, Vodafone, Airtel and Tigo gained market share whiles market leader MTN, and Expresso lost market share.
The total number of mobile subscribers finished at 17,436,949 in December 2010, which represents a 15 per cent (2,328,033) increase over that of 2009, which stood at 15,108,916.
Out of the 2009 total, Vodafone finished with 2,132,119 subscribers representing 14.1 per cent, but Vodafone’s subscribers increased by 590,245 to 2,722,364 in 2010, which is 15.6 per cent of the total for 2010, and an increase of 3.5 per cent.
This makes Vodafone the biggest winner in percentage terms for the one year period.
Airtel (Zain) also had 1,293,238 subscribers in 2009, representing 8.6 per cent of the total for that year, but its subscriber-base increased by 461,021 to 1,754,259 in 2010, which is 10.1 per cent of the total for last year, representing some 1.4 per cent gain in market share.
Tigo was the third winner with an increase in subscriber-base from 3,420,354 in 2009, representing 22.6 per cent of the total, to 3,999,262 in 2010, which is 22.9 per cent of last year’s total, and represents a marginal 0.3 gain in market share.
In real terms Tigo gained 578,908 additional subscribers in 2010, which is more than the 461,021 Airtel gained.
But market leader MTN lost market share from 53 per cent of last year’s total to just a little over 50 per cent of this year’s total, even though in terms of real figures, MTN’s subscriber-base increased from 8,000,946 in 2009 to 8,721,249.
The increase shows that MTN gained 720,303, which makes it the biggest winner in real terms.
But in terms of market share, MTN is the biggest loser with three per cent loss over the period under review, indicating diminishing growth rate in MTN’s subscriber base.
Expresso, which used to be called Kasapa, is not unfamiliar with losing market share and even losing subscribers literally.
The company marginally lost market share from 1.7 per cent in 2009 to 1.4 in 2010, which reflects an actual loss in the number of subscribers from 262,259 in 2009 to 258,967, indicating some 3,292 loss.
Late last year, the NCA attributed that network operators’ loss in subscribers to SIM card registration in June/July, but the leading operators explained the loss was not real because they had sold many SIM cards but not many had not registered their SIM cards so those were not captured.
Some projected that by close of year the records would show that they had gained market share, but as the record show, two of the leading operators showed gains at year end, whiles the market leader posted a loss in market share.