Best telecom network operator in Nigeria: Why MTN is considered best

MTN Nigeria has the widest network architecture in the country and one wouldn’t be much bewilded that it is considered the best telecom network operator in Nigeria.

The South African operator controls a huge chunk of the Nigerian telecom market, which happens to be the biggest in Africa with 78,754,855 numbers of subscribers. This translates to about 40.17% percentage of the total number of subscribers in the country.

Rating the best telecom operator in the country over the years has always been way too easy for analysts in the industry. The prominent reason this has stayed so is the consistency and managerial excellence of the MTN brand. Nevertheless, the remaining three telcos with national coverage, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile have been at their best in playing second bests.

Best telecom network operator in Nigeria

Globacom, reknown for its excellent data packages, and unbeatable international calling rates shares 26.82% percent of the total subscriber numbers in the country. Following up is Airtel with a 26.76% market share. 9mobile makes up the rear with 12,111,674 numbers of subscribers.

Some persons, especially immigrants to the country have always pondered upon the telecom brand to subscribe to. They are most a times stuck between fictitious analysis gotten from the internet, which are made out of deliberate regard for a particular telecom carrier. However, the article today would get you a comprehensive explainer on why MTN is Nigeria’s best telecom operator. The commendation rather than built on random complaisances, is generated from the few verified data and information available.

Best telecom network operator in Nigeria: MTN Nigeria is the largest telecom operator in the country

MTN started its operations in Nigeria after payment of $285m for an operating license. This was also paid by British telecom giant, Vodacom, and several other operators in 2001. The Vodacom network is now floated as Airtel, after it folded its operations in the African country.

Best telecom network operator in Nigeria — statistics

While Vodacom saw no positive prospect in the then undeveloped market, the MTN franchise expanded its services by investing sums of money into it. Today, the South African operator controls about 40% of the Nigerian market, one which has transcended to be a multi-billion dollar industry – the best in Africa.

MTN Nigeria boasts of connecting more than 4,000 villages to mobile telecommunication service in Africa’s most populous country. The telecom firm undoubtedly has the widest base stations (telecom masts) in this country, the most it has had in a single country of operation.

MTN betters its services with strategic spectrum acquisition

The frequency spectrum are bands of frequencies which are used for various kinds of communications. Among these are the popular radio and broadband communications.

In an explainer on Glo 4G, an exposition was made on how frequency works on a radio set, as well as during broadband communication.

Now, the frequencies allotted for radio, broadband, and all other means of communications are different from each other to avoid interference. Radio frequencies are usually between 88 Megahertz (MHz) and 108 MHz, while those used by mobile phones for broadband communication could be as high as 700MHz and 2800MHz. And with the arrival of 5G, higher frequencies like the 3.5 Gigahertz (GHz) up to the 26 GHz frequency are also being utilised for broadband communication. The part of the spectrum allotted for broadband communication are most a times auctioned to telecom operators by the various federal governments it residents its services in.

frequency band

In Nigeria, this coveted resource is managed and marketed by the National Frequency Management Council (NFMC). The agency allocates spectrums to broadcasting and telecommunication regulators which are the NBC and NCC respectively. The MTN brand has gotten itself into litigation by the manners it acquires this enviable resource – frequency band. As at the time of writing, below are the frequency bands currently under the ownership of the telecom operator:

2G (GSM)900MHz
3G (UTMS)2100MHz
4G (LTE)800MHz
MTN currently has a 700MHz frequency band which was offered solely for pay tv service
MTN also owns a share in the 3.5GHz frequency

A 2x10MHz in the 700MHz frequency which was doggedly acquired by MTN had led to raised eyebrows from fellow competitors. The ₦34 billion paid for the frequency was widely criticised to be below par, bearing in mind the potentials of the enviable frequency.

The 700MHz is an important frequency among others given that it allows for more coverage using a particular telecom mast. It was initially a frequency set aside for broadcast communication, not until the digitalization of broadcast media. The freed frequency was after a secluded agreement with the NBC handed over to MTN Nigeria. This led to unrests in the sector as competing telcos saw the seeming surreptitious acquisition as unfair, nevertheless, the deal was allowed to stand.

Another artful deed of MTN Nigeria in the acquisition of a broadband frequency was in the concession of the erstwhile Visafone’s 800MHz band to its franchise. This followed its aquisition of the CDMA operator in 2015 in a ₦47.5 billion deal, after the latter had difficulties in overturning its debts and losses.

MTN never continued with the CDMA project but was concerned only in transferring the frequency to its network. Other telcos were displeased of this, with Etisalat, now 9mobile initiating a court suit condemning the manner in which Visafone’s coveted frequency was concessed to MTN. This however didn’t prevent the industry leader from using the band for its 4G service, even to the present.

Yet another tactful acquisition by MTN is instanced in the inheritance of a portion of the 3.5GHz frequency band. These high frequencies which are largely unused in the country are necessary for 5G services. Aside some regional operators, none among the four major telecom operators in the country owns a share in these bands yet except MTN Nigeria. And that is proactive of the popular operator.

Best telecom network operator in Nigeria: MTN is innovative and value-driven

Among the telecom operators resident in the country, none is arguably as innovative as MTN. The telecom firm which had risked an initial $400 million investment in the country, at a time where the probability of success was slender, has gone up with numerous investments including once a $13 billion telecom project financing in the country. Recently, much of its financing has gone to 4G development in the country.

The operator putatively has the widest 3G and 4G service in Nigeria. In addition to that, the operator is the only telecommunication operator with a positive approach towards adopting the 5G technology: MTN Nigeria became the first and yet the only telecom carrier in West Africa to test run the generation of technology in 2019.

telecommunication masts

Recently MTN has shown its innovative prowess in the trial of the eSIM technology. With an eSIM, one wouldn’t need to purchase SIM cards but would only be permitted to download an operator’s profile on-the-air and discard it for another if unsatisfied by the services of the operator.

MTN Nigeria has an efficient feedback communication medium

Customer complaint resolution is one of the metrics through which a company or firm is graded. The MTN telecommunication company has a good feedback medium, packed with responsive agents. However if you intend submitting a complaint through their call medium, you might unavoidably be left to wait for long minutes for a call agent to handle your request. This is usual of all the major operators in the country.

Notwithstanding, contacting the company through any of its social media accounts takes less time, especially on Twitter and Facebook. Among the four major operators, the MTN carrier relatively has the best customer relation and complaint modality.

Best telecom network operator in Nigeria — customer care

Best telecom network operator in Nigeria: In Conclusion

No other single telecom network provider has made money from the Nigerian market as MTN. By reason of this, the firm is penchant for embroilments with the Nigerian government in the way it moves its income from the country.

The MTN brand is putatively considered to be the richest telecom operator. This claim is laid putatively because the financials of these operators have always been kept unknown of by the public.

From the market size, infrastructure purchase and the value of it, as well as the effectiveness of network, it isn’t ill-conceived to label MTN as Nigeria’s best telecom operator so far.


A potential electrical/electronics engineer in the making, a phone addict and a motivating partner.While he's not researching through with his phone, Daniel spends his time with the books.★ Fav. quote: The habit of persistence is the habit of victory! ★

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