Telcos lost N120bn via voice calls in 2017

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Major network operators in the country lost N120bn potential revenue from voice calls in 2017, the Nigerian Communications Commission data showed on Friday.

This is as a result of the reduction in the subscriber base of MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile between January and December 2017, according to analyses of the latest statistics from the NCC.

The NCC’s statistics on the subscribers under the GSM category showed that the active mobile voice subscriptions on the four major networks fell from 154.660 million in January to 144.631 million in December, representing a loss of over 10.028 million active network users.

This impacted negatively on revenue meant to accrue to telcos from voice calls.

According to findings, the industry’s Average Revenue Per User on voice calls is $2.75, which is equivalent to N998.25 per month using N363 to one dollar exchange rate.

This means that in 12 months, a subscriber was expected to have spent an average of N11,979 on voice calls.  An estimation of the amount of money they would have earned on voice calls from 10,028,768 subscribers that were lost is N120.134bn.

However, what was lost from voice calls was gained in data subscription as the number of Internet users rose to 98.391 million in December 2017, from 91.274 million at the beginning of the year. This brings the total number of new Internet users to 7,117 million.

Stakeholders in the industry have warned of depleting revenue due to increased usage of Over-the-Top Internet voice applications such as Whatsapp, Skype, Telegram and FaceBook Messenger that offer instant messaging and voice calls to subscribers globally. These messaging apps have also integrated video calling into their features, all which directly affect voice and the SMS usage but encourage the use of data subscriptions.

A London-based research and analytics firm, Ovum, had predicted that the telecommunications industry would lose about $386bn between 2012 and 2018 from customers using the OTT voice applications.

Speaking on the loss of revenue by telcos on voice calls, the President, Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria, Mr. Olusola Teniola, said other avenues through which telcos made money included wholesale, data and the SMS and mobile payments.

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