Nigerians exchange 19.8b local SMS as operators earn N79.3b in 2021
Only three per cent of postpaid customers are served by the telecoms sector
Statistics from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) have revealed that in 2021, subscribers to telecommunication services in the country exchanged 19.8 billion Short Message Service (SMS).
This was an increase of 14.13 per cent from the total SMS sent and received in the year 2020, which stood at 17.4 billion.
NCC said there was a 15.1 per cent increase in the number of smses sent in the year 2021 compared to 2020. Conversely, the 2021 count of incoming SMS also increased 16.63 per cent higher than that of 2020.
The telecoms regulator disclosed this in the 2021 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report released yesterday. Specifically, the report shows that SMS sent totalled 9.46 billion, while messages received were 10.6 billion.
In Nigeria, the NCC pegs N4 uniform charge for all domestic off-net SMS. Using the N4 uniform charge, which is usually initiated on SMS sent, it can be deduced that operators earned N79.3 billion through that process.
Further, in 2021, MTN recorded the highest count of SMS received and sent, which stood at 8.23 billion and 7.88 billion respectively. Airtel subscribers sent 1.27 billion and received 2.1 billion. Globacom users sent 3,340 and received 61.7 million. 9mobile had 305 million messages sent on its platform and received 304 million. Smile Communications customers sent 265,176 and received 1,023,489, while NTEL witnessed two million sent SMS and 2.1 million received.
MEANWHILE, the total number of international SMS sent as of December 2021 was 63,009,474 while the total number of SMS received was 340,655,884. Here, Airtel recorded the highest count of incoming SMS (276,829,710) while MTN recorded the highest count of SMS sent (42,444,130).
Specifically, MTN had 42.4 million sent SMS and 17.7 million received. 171,002 messages were sent on Globacom, while the network received 1,482,316. Subscribers to Airtel sent 18,560,081 and received 276,829,710. 9mobile received 44,433,452 and sent 1,831,546. For Smile Communications, 2,715 left the network, while 114,232 came in.
The report shows that the total prepaid Mobile Voice subscriptions decreased from 199,043,508 in 2020 to 189,509,350 in 2021, indicating a decline of 9.02 per cent in prepaid Mobile Voice subscriptions.
Postpaid Mobile Voice Subscriptions increased from 5,450,774 in December 2020 to 5,848,163 as at December 2021, indicating an increase of 7.3 per cent growth in postpaid Mobile Voice Subscriptions as at end of the year 2021.
The analysis indicates that about 97 per cent of mobile users are prepaid subscribers while only about three per cent are postpaid. The Southwest and Northwest zones recorded the highest number of subscriptions while the North East zone recorded the least due to the insecurity situation there.
The report notes that 28 per cent of active subscription is in the Southwest zone, while the Northeast has the least percentage of active voice subscription of 10 per cent.