Subscriber base figures published by the National Communication Authority (NCA) shows that between July 2011, and May 2012, Vodafone gained more subscribers than any other telco during the first year of Mobile Number Portability in Ghana.
The first 10-month period from July 2011, when MNP was launched, till May 2012 when the NCA last published mobile subscriber base figures, Vodafone’s subscriber base increased by 1,094,436, which is 7,116 more than the 1,087,320 subscribers next-in-line Airtel added on.
This indicates that even though Tigo was the biggest net winner of MNP, on the whole, Vodafone gained more subscribers than any other during the first year of MNP. Vodafone begun the post MNP launch period with 3,577,563 subscribers so the additional subscribers by May 2012 represents 30.6% increase, while Airtel’s additional subscribers represent 56.4% increase.
This also indicates that whereas Airtel has grown by the highest percentage point compared to its base in July, Vodafone added on more subscribers than Airtel did, in terms of real figures between July 2011 and May this year. Airtel has been claiming to be the fastest growing network in the country, and experts say compared to its subscriber base at the beginning of the period in question, Airtel is right, but in terms of real figures added on, Vodafone would be right to make that claim.
MTN also gained an additional 989,266 subscribers over the period, representing 10.2% increase on its base from July 2011; and that figure gives a pointer that the 950,000 subscribers MTN has targeted for this year is feasible.
Meanwhile Tigo lost 689,678 subscribers, representing 16.6% dip in subscriber base in the post MNP launch, while Expresso also lost some 23,620 subscribers representing 10.8% dip in subscriber base in the post-MNP launch era.
The figures also show that Airtel is fast closing in on Tigo, which also keeps losing subscribers and inching in downwards towards Airtel. Tigo begun the period with 4.15 million subscribers and has fallen to about 3.5 million subscribers, while Airtel begun with 1.9 million subscriber and crossed the 3 millionth line for the first time in May 2012.
Meanwhile the MNP balance sheet proper shows that in the first full year of MNP, Tigo was the biggest net winner with +68,000; followed by Vodafone with +43,000, then Glo with +7,500 and Airtel with +6,800. MTN was the biggest net loser with over 125,000 deficit, and Expresso has also had a deficit of 418 by the end of one year of MNP.
But NCA’s MNP Consultant, Bob Palitz has said the gains and losses in MNP were not significant enough to make any meaningful impact on market positions of the telcos.
Subscriber base figures from the NCA indicate MTN started the MNP year with 50.3% market share but now has a dwindled market share of 47%; Vodafone started with 18.6% and has grown marginally to 21%, and Airtel started with 10%, but now has 14% market share, the highest percentage point increase.
Meanwhile Tigo, which was the biggest net winner in MNP, started the MNP period with 21%.6% market share, but has dropped significantly to 15%, and Expresso also started with 1.1%, but has also dropped slightly to 0.9% market share.
Bob Palitz said factors, other than the telcos’ performance on the MNP balance sheet, were responsible for the current market share structure. He noted that subscriber behavior is driven more by quality of network service, network coverage, tariffs, promotions and factors other than how many people are porting to one network or the other.
The NCA is yet to publish the half year report ending June 2012.