An investigation into the use mobile telecommunications usage during this lingering lockdown in Nigeria has shown that Nigerians are likely to spend an estimated N348.75bn on airtime.
This is due to the fact that most people are now working and schooling from home, since the lockdown order started and was later extended. This has meant massive profits for network providers in the country.
The N348.75bn airtime earnings are based on an estimate of the number of subscribers in April, and a projected Average Revenue Per User for voice and data services provided by analysts in the telecommunication industry.
Sales of airtime remain the core revenue earner for telcos and generate income for operators via voice calls, SMS, and data usage.
The latest monthly subscriber data from the Nigerian Communications Commission showed that there were 185.742 million active GSM subscribers on MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile networks in January 2020.
A breakdown of the data indicated that MTN had 70.693 million subscribers, Visafone owned by MTN also had 138,144 subscribers, Globacom had 51.756 million users, Airtel had 49.998 million subscribers while 9mobile had 13.158 million users in January this year.
Consequently, the networks are becoming congested, something MTN Nigeria’s Chairman, Dr Ernest Ndukwe has said they are trying to curb by initiating spectrum sharing to ease congestion.
“The pressure on our network has increased substantially as more and more people use data and voice services while at home. While we all operate a redundancy regimen that allows us to ensure service during spikes in traffic, none of our networks is built to handle the type of surge that subsists over a long period of time,” he added.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer, IXPN, Muhammed Rudman, had said a surge in Internet traffic was noticed when the lockdown took effect in selected states, especially in Lagos.
“We noticed an increase in traffic and we are trying to encourage our members to upgrade their ports. For Lagos in particular, we have seen an increase today. We started noticing about 10 per cent increase in traffic,” he added.
He said members of the exchange point had been advised to upgrade their port to avoid congestion on their network.
“For us, we have enough capacity to handle the traffic but our members need to upgrade to higher port capacity. Our members interconnect to us on port capacity. For example, some are connected in 1Gigabyte, others 10GB or 40GB. If they reach the threshold of that capacity, they will need to upgrade, if not, there will be congestion on the link,” Rudman added.