Leading telecommunications operator in Nigeria, Airtel, made N304 billion ($734 million) in revenue from data service alone between April 2021 and March 2022.
Airtel Africa, the parent body of Airtel Nigeria disclosed this in its financial result for the year ended March 2022 released during the week.
This was driven by a sharp increase in data consumption by its customers.
This shows a 41.1% growth in data revenue compared with N227.4 billion ($549 million) the company recorded in the same period last year.
Airtel disclosed that data usage per customer on the network jumped from 2.8GB per month in the previous year to 4.0GB per month this year.
This shows that the rate of data consumption by Nigerians has increased over the last year. Airtel says its data customer base also grew by 14.9 per cent while data Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) grew by 37.6%.
The 41% growth in Airtel’s data revenue dwarfed the 15.9 per cent voice revenue growth the company recorded in the year.
Commenting on the financial report, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, CEO Airtel Africa said: “Our continued 4G network expansion and increased smartphone penetration has supported data usage growth. Almost 99% of our sites in Nigeria are now delivering 4G, and smartphone penetration of our customers has increased by almost 1 percentage point.”
Data revenue accounted for 39.1 per cent of total revenue in Nigeria in the year, up by 3.7 per cent on the prior year. For Q4’22, 43.6 per cent of our data customer base were 4G users, contributing to 76.0 per cent of total data usage. Data usage per customer reached 4.2 GB per month and 4G data usage per customer reached 6.5 GB per month, a significant increase on the 4.6 GB usage per customer per month of Q4’21,” the company added.
The proliferation of Over the Top Services (OTTs) such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Wechat, Telegram, among others, through which subscribers can also make voice and video calls using their data subscriptions, is driving the surge in data usage in Nigeria at the expense of voice calls. Many subscribers now prefer to make Whatsapp calls using their data rather than the regular voice call.