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There are 4 Nigerian telecom companies you can subscribe to

Since the introduction of GSM’s (Global System for Mobile Communications) in Nigeria in the early 2000s, the telecommunications industry has continually evolved, especially with the increasing introduction of newer technologies by various telecommunications companies, otherwise called telcos. Over time, these telcos have played significant roles in the provision of reliable networks, fostering communication services for both individuals and organizations through the transmission of voice, data, and multimedia content via various media, such as wired and wireless networks.


While telcos primarily provide network services to the increasing population of telecommunication subscribers in Nigeria, their roles have in the last two decades extended to developing infrastructure, maintenance, and customer support, amongst a few others. These are all aimed at fostering a seamless operation across the country.

Currently, there are four major telcos in Nigeria providing telecommunication services, otherwise called “network operators,” that you can subscribe to, whether you are new to the country or not. They include the following:


MTN established its presence in Nigeria in 2001, shortly after the introduction of GSMs in 2000. For many years, it has been considered one of the largest telecom operators in the country, providing reliable networks for calls, data, and mobile money services to millions of subscribers across the country and beyond. According to data from Statista, as of 2019, the South African company held about 38 percent of the market share of mobile telecommunication operators in Nigeria, making it the largest telecom operator in the country. To date, no other findings or research work has disputed MTN’s position as the largest in the country.

In a related publication, Naijaknowhow revealed in 2021 that MTN, which doubles as the oldest telecom network operator in the country, has the most expansive network coverage, spread across 3,340 cities, towns, and villages in all 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and boasts over 66 million subscribers, of which 38 million are internet subscribers.

Airtel Nigeria

Airtel Nigeria has experienced more instances of rebranding and management changes than any other telecommunications network provider in the country. First introduced in Nigeria as Econet in 2001, the Indian telecoms company, headquartered in New Delhi in India under the auspices of Bharti Airtel Limited within its 23 years of existence in Nigeria, has changed its management six times and brand name five times, with each lasting about three years or less.

The telco commenced operations in Nigeria in 2001, branded as Econet Wireless Nigeria (EWN). In 2004, the company was rebranded to become Vodacom following a management crisis that led Econet to withdraw about 200 foreign staff and leave Nigeria, as they were almost bankrupt. Barely a few months later, the telco experienced another management change and was consequently rebranded to become Vmobile. This lasted for two years until 2006, when the company experienced another set of changes, becoming Celtel.

In 2008, another rebranding occurred, and the company adopted the name Zain, which lasted until 2010 when it changed to Airtel and has maintained the management to date.

Despite the instabilities all these years, Airtel is still regarded as a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 20 countries across Asia and Africa and ranks among the top 5 mobile service providers globally in terms of subscribers.

Globacom (GLO) Nigeria

Globacom is a multinational telecommunications company founded in Nigeria by Nigeria’s second richest man, Mike Adenuga. It commenced operations on August 29, 2003, and currently operates in four countries in West Africa, namely Nigeria, the Republic of Benin, Ghana, and Côte d’Ivoire.

GLO, as it is otherwise called, is the first telecommunications company to build an $800 million high-capacity fiber-optic cable known as Glo-1, a submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. This feat was achieved in 2011. Moreover, it boasts over 40 million subscribers (June 2018), of which 26 million are Internet subscribers.

9mobile (formerly Etisalat Nigeria)

9Mobile is a Nigerian private limited liability company under the auspices of EMTS. It was formally known as Etisalat and commenced operations in Nigeria in 2008 after receiving its Unified Access Service License from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in 2007.

According to 2018 data, 9Mobile boasts an estimated 15 million subscribers, of which 10 million are Internet subscribers.

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  1. benua

    2 months ago



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