Telecommunications operators in Nigeria are set for increased revenue growth in revenue this year as the figure for internet subscriptions surge. Between January and June this year, the mobile network operators comprising MTN, Airtel, Globacom, and 9mobile have increased their mobile subscriptions by 9 million, according to the latest data from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The four telecom operators by the end of June 2022 had 151 million internet subscriptions from 141.9 million recorded in December last year.
As of the same period in 2021, the operators had lost 14 million subscriptions. This was as a result of the government’s ban on new SIM registration which took effect from December 2020 to April 2021.
Despite the decline in subscriptions last year, the telcos still recorded an increase in data revenue as the subscribers consumed more.
What the figures are showing
- With the huge loss of internet subscriptions in 2021, MTN Nigeria recorded a 55% increase in data revenue for the year as it raked in N516 billion from its internet customers.
- In its financial report for Q1 2022, the company also recorded 54% growth in data revenue from N105.6 billion last year to N162.7 billion this year.
- Airtel Nigeria in its financial report for the year ended March 31, 2022, had also reported a 41.1% increase in data revenue.
- According to NCC’s data, Nigerians consumed 350,165 terabytes of data last year, which is 70% increase from 205, 880 terabytes consumed in 2020.
- The operators continue to expand their 4G service across the country leading to a continuous increase in data consumption by subscribers.
- As of March this year, Airtel said 43.6% of its data customers were already on 4G and were contributing 76% of total data usage on the network.
- Between January and March 2022, Airtel said data usage per customer on 4G reached 6.5 GB per month, a significant increase from the 4.6 GB usage per customer per month recorded in the same period last year.
What you should know
The proliferation of Over-the-Top Services (OTTs) such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Wechat, Telegram, among others, through which subscribers can also make voice and video calls using their data subscriptions, is driving the surge in data usage in Nigeria.
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- While the operators’ revenue is expected to increase for the year, their operating expenses for the year may also rise astronomically due to the rising cost of diesel since the beginning of this year.
- According to the telcos, the high cost of diesel has led to a 200% increase in their cost of operation this year.
- Telecom’s base stations are powered by diesel generators that run 24/7. Diesel price has gone up from N280 in January this year to over N800 as of this month.
- The telecom operators under the auspices of the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), had April appealed to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to allow them to increase tariffs by 40% to offset the rising cost of operation. The telecom regulator, however, said there would not be any cost review until empirical studies are conducted to ascertain if increments are necessary.