Subscribers spend N602.6bn on calls in five months

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Telecoms-OperatorsTelecoms subscribers in Nigeria spent about N602.6 billion on airtime for their phones to make calls in the first five months of the year, spanning January to May, New Telegraph investigations have revealed.

The figure is arrived at using the subscriber data released monthly by the telecoms industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the current industry’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) provided by the operators.

figures released by the telecom regulator. It was gathered that each of the monthly subscription represents the total number of active lines on all mobile networks in the country. These include the Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) operators; the Code Division Multiple Access operators as well as the fixed wired/ wireless networks.

Two telecoms firms, MTN and Etisalat, put the current average spending by subscribers monthly at $6 (N936). Further investigation revealed that subscribers spent estimated N191.5 billion in January with based on the number of subscribers, which stood at 127 million and the ARPU averaging N936.

With the same ARPU, subscribers’ spending moved to an estimated N120.7 billion in February; N118.8 billion in March; N121 billion in April and in May, the airtime expenditure was conservatively estimated at N112.7 billion. Subscribers’ expenditure thus adds up to estimated N602.6 billion for the five months, indicating the premium paid to telecoms services by the consumers.

Reacting to the findings in a telephone interview, President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said telecoms services were taking priority position in the daily needs of Nigerians. He said: “While I may not be able to tell you categorically how much we spend monthly on phone calls as subscribers, it is understandable that Nigerians spend a sizeable chunk of their incomes on telecoms services, which are replacing travel expenditures for the people.”

Ogunbanjo said, next to shelter, food and other needs of man “is the need to communicate, which saves us a lot of time that would have been wasted travelling from one place to another to see relatives or do transactions with business associates.”

He stated that the huge amount of money expended daily on telephone services by Nigerians had informed the insistence by the consumer rights group that “subscribers must get value for their money through the provision of quality services by the operators.”

However, President, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said the expenditure by subscribers had even reduced drastically in the last 13 years of telecoms regulation.

“You will recall that, in this country, we have made calls for close to N100 and today, we are witnessing a decrease in ARPU and in fact, today, you can make calls for as low as N10 and also send text messages for as low as N4,” he stated.

Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, said though telecoms operators might be seen to be making ‘so much’, it is clear that the healthy competition being

The ARPU is a financial performance benchmark in the telecoms industry that measures the average monthly revenue generated by operators from each customer.

According to official industry data by the telecoms watchdog, the industry recorded 127.6 million active mobile subscriptions last January and this figure increased to 129 million at the end of February.

I’m ready for more action, says Obasanjo’s shot son In March, the number declined to 127 million but picked up to 129.3 million in April and at the end of May, the figure stood at 131.1 million.

The May subscriber data is the latest official promoted by the regulator is driving cost of telecoms services down, stressing that much more reduction is expected in the coming years.

Acknowledging how capital-intensive telecoms infrastructure deployment is, the NCC boss had recently said only MTN was making profits in the market. He said other operators were still putting more investment in infrastructure rollout to cover more locations in the country.

MTN currently leads other network operators in the area of subscriber base and revenue generation in the country.

Official data show that MTN currently has about 57.2 million telephone users on its network. Airtel Nigeria trailed with 25.5 million; Globacom is third with 23.4 million while Etisalat has 18.5 million telephone users on its network.

This was as at the end of March when the latest data was released by the regulator.

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