The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has revealed that subscribers to mobile telecommunications services in Nigeria spent about N767.23bn on airtime purchase between November 2018 and January 2019.
The figure is derived from the number of subscribers in the three months under review obtained from the NCC, and the industry’s Average Revenue Per User provided by network operators.
It was gathered that, in November 2018, the monthly subscriber data from NCC showed that there were 168.73 million active GSM subscribers from MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile.
In December, the number of active subscribers rose to 172. 63 million while in January 2019, the country had 173.63 million active GSM users.
With the telecommunications companies’ ARPU amounting to $4.87 (N1490.22) per month, Nigerians spent N251.44bn on airtime in November 2018. Based on the same estimated monthly revenue per user in the industry, expenses on airtime purchase increased by two per cent to reach N257.04bn in December 2018.
Also, in January this year, about N258.74bn was expended by active Nigerian subscribers on airtime, giving a total of N767.23bn in the three months under review.
The data indicates that sales of airtime remain the core revenue earner for telcos and generate income for operators via voice calls, SMS, data subscriptions and value-added services.
It will be noted that Nigerians buy airtime through various platforms such as physical recharge card, the virtual top-up via USSD code, subscribers’ bank accounts domiciled on mobile devices, vending on web-based platforms and on Automated Teller Machines.
The rise in airtime revenue has out to rest worries and predictions by analysts that voice and messaging revenue would decline due to the proliferation of instant messaging apps.