The estimated amount generated by telecoms companies from voice services they deliver to their over 153 million telecom subscribers in Nigeria has increased from around N268 billion in June this year to N280 billion, New Telegraph’s investigations have shown.
The amount also represents the aggregate expenditure of telecoms subscribers across mobile communications (GSM) operators, the code division multiple access (CDMA) and fixed line networks.
Analyst say the increase in the figure also shows that demand for telecoms services in Nigeria continues to record sharp increase as mobile subscribers on the networks of mobile operators in the country has rebounded to growth.
The industry started witnessing a fall in subscriber base month-on-month since November, 2016, following the N1.04 trillion fine imposed on one of the telcos for contravening mobile registration rules in the country.
Meanwhile, the new monthly voice revenue accruing to the operators was arrived at using the latest monthly subscriber base of 153 million subscriber figure for the month of September and the current industry Average Revenue per User (ARPU) put at $6 (N1,830), using N305 as official exchange rate.
ARPU is the financial performance benchmark in the telecoms industry that measures the average monthly revenue generated by operators from telecoms subscribers.
According to New Telegraph’s findings, with an ARPU of N1,830 and subscriber base of 153 million, Nigeria’s telephone users now pay an estimated N299.9 billion monthly as their bills for accessing voice services on telecoms networks.
Analysis of the of the estimated voice revenue showed that as at end of September, MTN, which has a subscriber base of 61 million raked in N111.6billion; Globacom with 37 million users made N67.7 billion; Airtel on with 33 million subscribers made N60.4 billion while Etisalat with 22 million subscribers made N40.3 billion.
The rebound of the subscriber growth has led to an increase in the number of revenue being generated by telecoms operators from voice services. For instance, as at November 2016, the telecoms industry players, including those in GSM, CDMA and fixed line operators, stood at 152.1 million, the highest subscriber base ever recorded in the country.
However, with the over N1.04 trillion imposed on MTN line with a directive to deactivate over 5.2 million unregistered lines, the industry started witnessing a slump consistently till June, 2016.
From December last year through January this year, for instance, total industry subscribers hovered at 151 million. By February 2016, it fell to 148. 6 million and slightly peaked at 148.7 million by March, while it sank further to 147.5 million in April.
However, it started picking up again from May, June and July, as total active mobile subscriptions rose steadily to 148.8 million; 149.8 million and 150.2 million respectively.
The bull was sustained by the industry as August and September also witnessed strong growth from 152.8 million to 153.3 million in that order. New Telegraph learnt that the current figure of 153.3 million was the highest subscriber base ever recorded in the history of telecommunications in Nigeria.
Also, teledensity, which had earlier crashed in November, 2015 from 108.66 per cent to 105.41 per cent as of April, 2016, has re-energised again to reach 109.50 per cent at the end of September, this year.
Meanwhile, the actual numbers of telephone lines that have been signed up by telecoms licensees – whether active and inactive – have reached 226.37 million till date.
This, thus, put the number of inactive lines at 73.17 million, as active lines are 153.2 million, given the overall connected lines on all networks at 226.37 million, according the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)’s latest data.Of the 153.2 million active lines, telecoms operators including MTN, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat record the lion’s share of the total.
While GSM operators control 152.83 million of the total active lines of 153.2 million, CDMA and fixed line networks recorded 276,304 and 158,280.
When contacted to comment on the conservative estimate of the consumer spending on phone calls making, President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said for as long as more Nigerians continue to take up and rely on telecoms services for their daily business and personal activities, telcos would continue to increase their revenue.
Ogunbanjo explained that telecoms industry has become a critical sector, not only to the individual telecom consumer, but also to the economy as a whole. According to him, Nigeria had recorded an astronomical uptake in telephone subscriptions, both in the urban and rural areas in the last 15 years of telecoms deregulation.
On the current estimated money being spent by subscribers on phone calls monthly, Ogunbanjo said: “This is revealing. However, your findings may be plus or minus, but I think it provides us with an idea of how much telecoms subscribers in Nigeria spend on their respective service providers monthly.”
Also reacting, the President, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said that the expenditure by subscribers has even reduced drastically in the last 14 years of telecoms regulation.
“You will recall that in this country, we have made calls for close to N100 per minute and today, we are witnessing a decrease in tariffs where we make calls for just about N10 or below per minute.” He added that “today, you can make calls for as low as N10 and also send text messages for as low as N4.