According to financial statements obtained, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc and Airtel Nigeria both earned ₦2.02 trillion in airtime and data revenues in 2021.
The figure represents a 20.01 per cent increase over the ₦1.68tn earned by both companies from airtime and data revenues in 2020.
The amount made by 9mobile and Globacom from data and airtime revenues could not be obtained because their financial statements are not publicly available.
The Nigerian Communications Commission reports that MTN and Airtel are the two largest call carriers in the country. According to its 2020 industry statistics report, a total of 150,825,830,687.40 minutes of calls were made
A total of 145,420,101,695 calls (96.42%) were made from MTN lines (103,531,547,686 minutes), with the remainder (41,888,554,009 minutes) made on the Airtel network.
MTN earned ₦819.74 billion and ₦516.21 billion from airtime and data in 2021, respectively; in 2020, it earned N766.39 billion and ₦332.37 billion from airtime and data, respectively. In 2021, Airtel earned ₦397.91 billion ($957 million) and ₦287.31 billion ($691 million) from airtime and data, respectively; in 2020, it earned ₦370.47 billion ($891 million) and ₦214.96 billion ($517 million) from airtime and data, respectively.
MTN stated in its financial statement for the fiscal year ending December 2021 that its data revenue had continued to rise even as it expanded its 4G coverage. It also stated that the average megabyte per subscriber increased by 85.3% year on year.
It said, “Data revenue rose by 55.3 per cent, maintaining an accelerated growth trajectory in Q4 as we continue to accelerate the expansion of our 4G coverage, enhance the quality and capacity of our network to support increasing data traffic, and grow active data users.
Average MB per user rose by 62.7 per cent, enabling overall data traffic growth of 85.3 per cent. Also, smartphone penetration on the network grew by 4.0pp to 50 per cent. Our 4G network now covers 70.3 per cent of the population, up from 60.1 per cent in December 2020″.
MTN also stated that its voice revenue increased by 8.4 per cent over 2020 due to increased usage in its active SIM base, which saw a 7.9 per cent increase in minutes of use.
According to Airtel, its voice revenue increased by 8.4%, resulting in a 7.9% increase in minutes of use.
“Voice revenues posted year on year growth of 9.9 per cent, nearly 10% in the quarter, a slight slowdown given the softer quarter, particularly in Q1, but still reflecting year on year customer growth of 5.8 per cent, adding voice ARPU growth of 5.2 per cent,” said Segun Ogunsanya, Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Africa Plc.
“We still fundamentally believe that with the low customer penetration levels across our footprint of 14 countries, combined with very low minutes of usage, there is still a very long runway for voice revenues to continue to grow”.