The amount, which shows spending between January and September 2023 was recorded in the financial statements of the top two telecoms, MTN Nigeria and Airtel Africa and indicates a 32.57% rise from the ₦1.95 trillion recorded from income sources of both companies in the corresponding period of 2022.
According to the report, Airtel’s data subscription drive and the devaluation of the Naira influenced the revenue increase.
Airtel’s revenue from airtime and data in the first nine months of 2023 was pegged at $1.29 billion and when the exchange rate of ₦777/$ is used for conversion, it amounted to ₦1.003 trillion.
The revenue from airtime and data in the corresponding period of 2022, however, showed Airtel made $1.41 billion and when converted at the old exchange rate of ₦461/$, it amounted to ₦647.71 billion.
Increased data revenue gave rise to MTN’s growing overall revenue as it was the main source of the company’s general revenue growth.
The report showed on a year-on-year basis, MTN’s revenue from data increased by 36.36% while revenue from airtime only increased by 10.64%. This indicated more internet usage activity by most of the subscribers.
The increase in data usage has given credence to a World Bank report which has predicted a rise in data usage across Africa as a whole.
The report termed the Ericsson Mobility Report (June 2023) noted, “Sub-Saharan Africa is forecast to be the region with the highest growth in total mobile data traffic, rising by 37% annually between 2022 and 2028 as service providers across the continent continue to invest in 4G networks and migrate customers from 2G and 3G.”
The report further noted that the general growth in the ICT sector will be fuelled by the increased data usage by households, businesses and higher subscriber numbers.