Consumers of telecommunication services spent at least N1.25tn on calls and data in the first six months of 2022.
This was contained in the half-year financial report of MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa. This is a 17.77 per cent increase from N1.06tn that was spent on calls and data in the corresponding period of 2021.
In the first six months of 2022, MTN Nigeria disclosed that it made N850.33bn from calls and data, an increase of 18.50 per cent from the N717.56bn it made in the corresponding period of 2021. Airtel disclosed that its Nigerian operation made N399.39bn ($931m) from calls and data, a 16.23 per cent increase from the N343.63bn ($801m) it made in the corresponding period of 2021.
An analysis of the reports shows that data revenues are growing faster than voice revenues. MTN’s data revenue grew by 51.59 per cent from N229.88bn in the first six months of 2021 to N348.48bn in the corresponding period of 2022.
Its voice revenue only grew by 2.91 per cent from N487.68bn in the first six months of 2021 to N501.85bn in the corresponding period of 2022.
Airtel Nigeria’s voice revenue grew by 10.25 per cent from $478m in the first six months of 2021 to $527m in the corresponding period of 2022 while its data revenue grew by 25.08 per cent from $323m in 2021 to $404m in the period under review of 2022.
During the period under review, the Nigerian Communications Commission asked telcos to bar outgoing calls from subscribers that had linked their NINs to their SIMs following a directive from the Federal Government.
At the time of implementing the order, the telcos revealed that a combined 32.6 million subscribers were affected on their network.
Commenting on the firm’s financial earnings, MTN Nigeria Chief Executive Officer, Karl Toriola, said, “Despite the slower growth recorded in Q2 due in large part to the restriction of outgoing calls for approximately 19 million of our subscribers (when initially implemented) in line with the NCC’s directive, we remained largely on track, delivering service revenue growth in line with our medium-term guidance of at least 20 per cent in H1.
“Growth was driven mainly by data revenue, while voice was the most impacted by the restriction. However, we have seen a steady recovery in voice revenue since April 2022 as more customers are reactivated, and gross connections continue to ramp up, supported by increased usage from the existing base. Overall, voice revenue grew by 2.9 per cent YoY in H1.
“Data revenue rose by 51.6 per cent, maintaining the accelerated growth trajectory through increased subscribers and data usage.”
He stated that about 10 million of its affected customers have now submitted their NINs for verification, of which 2.6 million have been reactivated. He added that some of the affected subscribers are abandoning their old SIMs to get new ones.
Airtel said it lost about $34m in revenue as a result of the Federal Government’s directive to bar outgoing calls from SIMs not linked to their NINs.
It said, “Voice revenue grew by 10.8 per cent in constant currency, driven by customer base growth of 12.7 per cent while voice ARPU growth was flat.
“Voice revenue growth was impacted by the barring of outgoing calls for customers who had not submitted their NINs. A total of 13.6 million customers were initially barred out of which 5.3 million (39 per cent) have subsequently submitted their NIN and 2.3 million (17 per cent) have subsequently been verified and unbarred.
“This has resulted in a loss of approximately. $34m revenue in the quarter and a corresponding impact of 7.5 percentage points on the growth rate. Data revenue grew by 24.8 per cent in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 15.6 per cent and data ARPU growth of 7.1 per cent. Data usage per customer increased by 19.1 per cent to 4.6 GB per month (from 3.8 GB in the prior period).”
Globacom and 9mobile do not release their financial reports but according to NCC, MTN and Airtel have 66.39 per cent of the market share of the nation’s mobile subscribers.