Monday 11 February 2013 / By Adeyemi Adepetun, The Guardian
Nigeria’s telecommunications consumers may have expended about N107 billion on telephone calls in 2012, according to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
The Guardian investigation showed that the latest subscriber data (December) released at the weekend revealed that Nigeria crossed the 100 million-subscriber mark and ended the year 2012 with 113 million active subscribers base.
Besides, the country’s telecoms teledensity, which was 78.8 per cent in November, moved up slightly to 80.85 per cent in December 2012.
Teledensity is the number of telephone users per thousands within a particular area and time. While the country had 113 million active telephone users, the total connected lines in Nigeria in 2012 stood at 151.7 million.
Today, Nigeria can boast of four big GSM operators, including MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel and Etisalat. The Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) sub-sector has three main players. They are Visafone, Starcomms and Multilinks.
The statistics put telecoms subscribers in the country at 113 million. This means that the country added over three million new subscribers between November and December 2012.
Specifically, the statistics showed that the GSM operators ended 2012 with 109.8 million subscribers; the CDMA, which had three million subscribers in November, went down to 2.49 million. The fixed wired and wireless operators suffered the same fate as their CDMA counterpart, by losing 14,733 subscribers within the same period.
The Guardian investigations revealed that MTN Nigeria finished 2012 with 47.4 million subscribers; Globacom had 24.1 million; Airtel had 23.1 million with Etisalat closing the year with 14.9 million.
Visafone closed the year with 2.65 million subscribers, while Starcomms Plc went down to 307, 844. Multilinks was left with just 263, 767 million, while Zoom mobile finished 2012 with just 111,077 subscribers only.
Further analysis by The Guardian revealed that the industry’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), according to London based Business Monitor International (BMI), went down from N1, 011 in 2011 to N949 in 2012.
The impact of N949 ARPU means that the about 113 million active subscribers in the country might have spent a whopping sum of N107 billion on telephone calls in 2012.
ARPU is defined as a measure most often used by telecom companies. It states how much a company makes from the average user. It is the revenue from the services provided by the number of users buying those services.
On the current status of ARPU in the telecoms industry, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo told The Guardian: “The ARPUs are falling and it is not constant across the industry. It is dropping and not on the rise, which puts the operators in bad situation about return on investments.”
Meanwhile, a PriceWaterHouseCooper (PwC) statistics said Nigerians in 2012 spent about 22.3 billion minutes on telephones.
The PwC report put Nigeria’s outgoing and incoming on-net and off-net minutes of calls at about 22.3 billion, while Short Message Service (SMS) volume hit 1.8 billion within the same period.
On-net calls are calls within the same network, while off-net calls are calls from one network operator to another.
The PwC’s report revealed that while the minutes of telephone calls in Nigeria witnessed an increase of over five billion from 17 billion in 2011 to reach 22.3 billion at the end of 2012, SMS volume also increased by three million, rising from 1.5 billion to 1.8 billion during the same period.