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Nigerian Phone Numbers and their Corresponding Networks 2024

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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“0907 is what network?” This is a question that many Nigerians ask themselves when trying to discern the network provider associated with a phone number. In Nigeria ‘s dynamic telecom environment, every digit in a phone number carries meaning, directing users to specific network providers.

Understanding this relationship is crucial for individuals and businesses alike, as it can impact the cost of communication and the quality of service received.

In this piece, we’ll be reviewing the structure of Nigerian phone numbers, the networks they are affiliated with, and how this knowledge can empower users to make informed decisions regarding their mobile communication needs.

What are the Nigerian Mobile Service Operators?

Nigeria’s telecommunications industry is vibrant, competitive, and continually evolving. As of 2024, there are several mobile service operators (MSOs) in Nigeria, each offering various services, coverage, and plans tailored to meet the needs of the country’s diverse population. Below is a look at some of Nigeria’s major MSOs:

  • MTN Nigeria

MTN Nigeria is the largest and most widely used network operator in Nigeria. It has the highest number of subscribers and provides a comprehensive range of services, including voice calls, data plans, mobile money services, and more. MTN has a robust network that covers a significant portion of the country, ensuring reliable communication services for its users.

  • Airtel Nigeria

Airtel Nigeria, a subsidiary of Bharti Airtel, is another major player in the Nigerian telecom sector. It offers a wide range of services, including voice calls, data plans, and value-added services like Airtel Money. 

  • Glo (Globacom)

Globacom, also known as Glo, is a prominent network operator in Nigeria, offering voice calls, data plans, and various other services. Glo is known for its competitive data packages and has a strong presence in many parts of the country.

  • 9mobile

9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat Nigeria, is a significant player in Nigeria’s telecom industry. It offers voice calls, data plans, and mobile banking services. 9mobile’s network coverage is extensive, and the company continuously invests in improving its services and expanding its network infrastructure.

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What are the Nigerian Phone Numbers and their networks?

MTN Nigeria Phone Numbers Begin With? 

MTN, a leading telecommunications provider, offers a variety of prefixes for its Nigerian phone numbers. Initially, MTN numbers began with the prefix 0803, marking the first generation of SIM cards. 

However, due to market dynamics or possibly saturation, this prefix is no longer available for new subscribers. Subsequently, MTN introduced new prefixes to accommodate the growing demand for mobile services. 

The next generation of SIM cards started with 0816, providing more options for users to choose from.

As the telecommunications landscape evolved, MTN continued to expand its offerings by introducing additional prefixes such as 0703 and 0706, catering to the increasing number of subscribers. 

These prefixes opened up more possibilities for users to select unique numbers tailored to their preferences. Over time, MTN further diversified its prefix options by adding 0903 and 0906, reflecting the company’s commitment to innovation and meeting customer needs.

The most recent addition to MTN’s prefix lineup is 091, representing the latest generation of SIM cards available to subscribers. This addition shows MTN’s ongoing efforts to stay at the forefront of the telecommunications industry, providing cutting-edge services and enhancing connectivity for users across the country.

In summary, MTN offers a wide range of prefixes for its Nigerian phone numbers, including 0803, 0703, 0903, 0806, 0706, 0813, 0810, 0814, 0816, 0903, 0906, and 091. These prefixes reflect MTN’s commitment to offering diverse options and staying ahead of the curve in meeting the communication needs of its customers.

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Airtel Network Nigerian Phone number prefixes

Airtel, one of Nigeria’s leading telecommunications companies, assigns distinct codes or prefixes to its Nigerian phone numbers, distinguishing them from those of other providers like MTN. 

These codes serve as the initial digits of Airtel phone numbers and vary among users. For instance, while one Airtel number might commence with 0701, another could kick off with 0702.

This diversity in prefixes allows for millions of unique combinations, ensuring that each Airtel subscriber can be identified uniquely within the network.

The evolution of Airtel’s numbering system reveals a progression marked by changes in these initial codes. Initially, when Airtel entered the Nigerian market, its SIM cards bore the prefix 0802.

Over time, as the company expanded its services and subscriber base, it introduced additional prefixes, including 0808 and 0708.

These transitions often accompanied technological advancements and expansions in coverage areas, reflecting Airtel’s commitment to providing reliable and accessible telecommunications services across Nigeria.

In recent years, with the emergence of new technologies and the increasing demand for mobile connectivity, Airtel has introduced a new set of prefixes for its SIM cards.

Presently, users can find Airtel numbers starting with prefixes such as 0902, 0907, and 0901. These prefixes represent the latest generation of Airtel SIM cards available in the market, catering to the evolving needs of consumers in an ever-changing digital landscape.

In summary, Airtel subscribers in Nigeria may encounter a variety of prefixes at the beginning of their phone numbers, including 0802, 0808, 0701, 0708, 0702, 0902, 0907, and 0901.

Each prefix symbolizes a different phase in Airtel’s journey of innovation and expansion, reflecting the company’s dedication to providing reliable telecommunications services to its customers nationwide.

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Glo Network Nigerian Phone Numbers Start With?

Like all other networks, Glo numbers used to start with specific codes, particularly 0805 or 0807.

However, with the evolving telecom landscape, Glo has introduced different prefixes, thereby making it difficult to identify a Glo number by just looking at the first few digits.

The recent changes in Glo’s numbering system mean that Glo numbers can now start with 0805, 0905, 0811, 0815, 0705, 0807, and 0915. This variety of prefixes can be a bit confusing for users who are accustomed to associating certain codes with Glo.

Thankfully, there is still a distinguishing feature between Glo’s prefixes and those of other networks. For instance, while both Glo and Airtel numbers can start with 0807, there is a slight difference in the following digits. This difference allows you to identify whether a number belongs to Glo or another network.

However, with a bit of attention to detail, you can still recognise a Glo number based on the prefix and subsequent digits.

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9Mobile Nigerian Phone Numbers Begin With?

9mobile phone numbers, like those of other mobile network providers, are not limited to a specific prefix.

This means that the first four digits of a 9mobile number can vary; they could start with 0809 or 0909.

Moreover, they may also begin with other codes such as 0817, 0818, or 0908. So, when you get a 9mobile SIM card, it could have any of these combinations as its initial digits.

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What are other Nigerian Phone Numbers and their Networks?

MTN, Glo, 9mobile, and Airtel are well-known phone service providers in Nigeria. But not many are familiar with Ntel, Smile, Spectranet, MainOne, and VDT Communication.

  • Ntel

Ntel has ties to NITEL. NITEL was Nigeria’s only phone service provider until 1992 when the government allowed new companies into the industry. MTN quickly became a key player.

Later, NITEL and Mtel’s assets were sold to NATCOM for $252 million in 2015.

Ntel came to life months after NITEL’s end. Ntel numbers all start with 0804*******.

  • Smile Communications Nigeria

Smile Communications Nigeria is a 4G LTE broadband service provider that offers high-speed internet services in select areas of Nigeria. While not as large as the aforementioned MNOs, Smile Communications provides reliable internet connectivity to its customers.

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0907 is what Network in Nigeria?

In Nigeria, when you see a phone number starting with the prefix “0907,” it means that the number is associated with the Airtel network. 

This prefix serves as an identifier for the telecommunications network provider. Airtel is one of the major mobile network operators in Nigeria, offering a range of services such as voice calls, text messaging, data plans, and other value-added services to its subscribers across the country. 

So, if you come across a phone number starting with “0907” in Nigeria, you can be sure that it is linked to the Airtel network, allowing you to easily recognize the service provider associated with that particular number.

Read also:”Wangiri” Missed Call Scam: NCC Warns Nigerian Phone Users

What are the Best Practices for Managing Nigerian Phone Numbers?

Managing Nigerian phone numbers effectively involves understanding the features and services offered by different MNOs and selecting the right plan for your needs. Here are some best practices to consider:

  • Coverage and Signal Strength:

Different network operators may have varying levels of coverage and signal strength in different regions. Before selecting a network, consider the areas where you will be using your phone most frequently and choose a provider with strong coverage in those areas.

  • Cost of Services: 

Compare the cost of voice calls, data plans, and other services offered by different MNOs. Consider any additional fees or charges that may apply.

  • Customer Service:

Look into the quality of customer service provided by each network operator. Good customer service can be crucial when resolving issues or seeking assistance with your phone service.

  • Special Features and Promotions: 

Some MNOs offer special features or promotions, such as free calls or data bonuses. Consider these offers when making your decision.

  • SIM Card Compatibility:

Ensure that your phone is compatible with the network you choose. Different networks may use different technologies (e.g., GSM, CDMA, LTE) that are not always compatible with each other.

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What are the current mobile network operators (MNOs) in Nigeria?

There are four major MNOs: MTN, Globacom, Airtel, and 9mobile.

How can I identify the network from a phone number?

Phone numbers typically start with a three-digit code, but due to recent regulations, this may not always be accurate. Refer to the article for a breakdown of the codes, but remember, number portability allows users to switch networks while keeping their number.

What is the National Identity Number (NIN) requirement?

As of February 28, 2024, all phone lines require a linked NIN for activation or continued use.

Can I keep my phone number if I switch networks?

Yes, thanks to number portability. Contact your current and desired network for details.

What are the different data and voice plans available?

Each MNO offers various plans catering to different needs and budgets. Research and compare their websites or contact them directly for the latest information.

Where can I find more information about Nigerian phone numbers and networks?

* Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)
* Mobile Network Operator Websites (MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9mobile)

Can I switch my phone number to a different network in Nigeria?

Yes, you can switch your phone number to a different network in Nigeria through a process called Mobile Number Portability (MNP). This allows you to keep your existing phone number while switching to a different network.


Nigerian phone numbers and their corresponding networks have evolved significantly over the years, with new networks emerging to provide alternative options for phone users.

From the major networks like MTN, Airtel, Glo, and 9mobile to newer networks like Smile, Spectranet, Ntel, and MainOne, there is a wide range of choices available to consumers. 

Additionally, the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) process allows users to switch networks while keeping their existing phone numbers. As technology continues to advance, we can expect further developments and innovations in the Nigerian telecommunications landscape.



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Blessing Ukibe
Blessing Ukibe

Medical Student at Nnamdi Azikiwe University|Tech content expert at Silicon Africa Technology|Lover of fun books and fun fun ☺️

Articles: 148

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