Telecommunications operators in Nigeria, comprising MTN, Globacom, Airtel, 9Mobile, Smile Communications, and Ntel, generated a total of N37.8 billion from short message service (SMS) in 2021, according to data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The NCC, in an annual telecoms industry data released yesterday, disclosed that a total of 9.462 billion text messages were sent by subscribers on the six networks last year. At a fixed rate of N4.00 per SMS, this amounts to approximately N37.8 billion for the operators.
This indicated that Nigerians still make use of paid text messages amidst the availability of different internet-based free messaging platforms such as Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Telegrams, etc. The data also showed a 15% increase in the number of text messages sent by the subscribers last year compared with the 8.2 billion messages sent in 2020.
Aside from the national SMS, the operators also recorded a total of 63 million international outgoing SMS in 2021.
- An analysis of the data showed that MTN recorded the largest number of SMS sent locally within the year, with 7.9 billion SMS sent over its network. This telco accounted for 83% of total SMS sent in the country last year.
- Airtel came second with 1.27 billion SMS sent over its network.
- 9Mobile recorded 305 million outgoing text messages for the year
- Ntel’s subscribers sent 2.08 million messages in 2021
- Smile Communications recorded 265,176 outgoing messages.
- Globacom recorded the least sent messages in the year, with a total of 3,340 outgoing SMS recorded on the network.
With the proliferation of Over-The-Top (OTT) services such as Whatsapp and other messaging platforms, telecom operators in Nigeria have been complaining of dwindling revenue from calls and SMS.
However, industry analysts noted that while the rate at which telecom subscribers use SMS might have reduced due to the embrace of OTTs, its use cannot be completely taken over by the free messaging platforms. According to them, some messages, especially for formal communications, are best sent via SMS; hence, text messages may never be out of use by subscribers.