An analysis of industry statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission has revealed that the number of GSM lines abandoned by Nigerians has grown by 24.38 million in two years.
According to the report, in January 2020, there were 83.81 million unused lines in the nation.
By January 2022, the number had grown to 108.47 million.
The NCC report stated there were 269,835,804 connected lines in January 2020, of which 185,742,016 were active, and 84,093,788 were inactive.
In January 2022, there were 305,623,582 connected lines, of which 197,152,773 were active, and 108,470,809 were inactive. During the time under review, the peak number of connected lines was 328,114,538 in August 2021.
The peak number of active lines was recorded in October 2020 at 207,954,737 lines.
The Chairman of the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, Gbenga Adebayo, in an interview said that the reason the lines were unused was as a result of multiple occurrences rather than single events.
According to him, even though the lines are unused, they are connected, and potentially active.
He added that the lines were not contributing to the growth of the national network any time they were inactive.
He had said, “It is a combination of many things. It could be people having multiple lines that they do not use.
“Traditionally, a lot of people carry more than one phone. Some have an office line; some have private lines but use one more often than the other. Some are in the Diaspora, who though they hold Nigerian SIM cards, are not residents here.
“Some are students, who for half of the term are not around. It also depends on how and why these lines are said to be unused; and for what period, because you could have someone not using their lines for three months, and after three months start to use them again”
Adebayo stated that having a high number of unused lines isn’t a cause for concern. He added that there was a need to explore the demographics of the report to better understand the reasons subscribers may not be using their lines.