According to findings, a whopping N3.208 trillion was expended by Nigerian subscribers as the estimated amount used to buy airtime credit to access voice and data services on their mobile devices across mobile network operators (MNOs).
The amount also represents the estimated revenue raked in by various telecoms companies across Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM),Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) and fixed wired/wireless networks. In 2015 and 2016, estimated spending of subscribers on airtime purchases to access both voice and data services on the devices were conservatively valued at N2.8 trillion and N3.3 trillion respectively, as analysed by this newspaper.
It was gathered that the airtime credits were purchased across different platforms such as the physical recharge card option, the virtual top-up (VTU) done through USSD code, subscribers’ bank accounts domiciled on their mobile devices, vending on web-based platforms, as well as on Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).
ARPU is the industry’s benchmark determined by industry players to measure the average or mean spending by telecoms consumers on airtime, which they, in turn, use to access voice and data services.
With 155.1 million active subscriber base on mobile networks in January last year, the estimated household spending on airtime stood at N285.6 billion. In February and March same year, when active subscribers stood at 154.1 million and N154.4 million and with the ARPU of N1,842, the estimated consumer spending were N283.8 billion and N284.4 billion respectively. Also, airtime spending last April, May and June were estimated at N274.8 billion; N267.6 billion and N263.4 billion when active telephone users across different mobile networks seated at 149.2 million, 145.3 million and 143 million in that order.
In addition, operators raked in N256.2 billion and N256.7 billion in July and August as declining subscribers dropped to 139.1 million and 139.4 million respectively. By September and October, when active subscribers were 139.9 million and 140.7 million, the amount spent by the subscribers on airtime purchase were estimated at N257.6 billion and N259.1 billion respectively.
Also, the subscriber spending stood at N262 billion when active subscriber base on mobile networks rose to 142.2 million in November and N267 billion expended on airtime last December at a time active subscribers reached 145 million.