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Telecoms sector’s FDI falls to $417.5b in 2021 as operators earn N3.2tr

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9.1m subscribers lose access as data consumption hits 353,118.89TB

Telecommunications operators, comprising GSM, Fixed Telephony Operators (Fixed/ Fixed Wireless); Internet Service Providers (ISPs); Value Added Service (VAS); Collocation and Infrastructure Sharing and others earned N3.2 trillion (N3.24 trillion) in 2021.

Operating cost of these operators was N1.72 trillion, while CAPEX (domestic investment) stood at N1.12 trillion as of 2021.

The 2021 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report, prepared by the Policy Competition and Economic Analysis Department of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) released yesterday, disclosed all these.

Specifically, the CAPEX for GSM players was N1.12 trillion, they operated with N1.65 trillion and earned as revenue, N2.77 trillion. The Fixed Wired operators had N60.9 million as domestic investment, operated with N534.16 million and earned N375 billion.

The ISPs’ revenue was N60 billion; CAPEX of N3.6 billion operated with N48.4 billion. For the VAS operators, the CAPEX was N335.8 million; operated with N10.12 billion and earned N32.9 billion.

For Collocation and Infrastructure Sharing players, they spent N266.26 million on domestic investment, operated with N2.32 billion and earned N3.07 billion in revenue. Other players in the sector, according to NCC, earned N2.44 billion, spent N171.47 million on domestic investment and operated with N899.86 million.

The report, which relied on Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) data, disclosed that capital inflow (FDI) into the telecoms industry in 2021 was approximately $417.48 million against $942.86 million as of 2019.

According to NCC, subscriber numbers decreased from 204,601,313 in 2020 to 195,463,898 active voice subscriptions at the end of 2020, with a loss of 9,137,415 subscriptions. This represents about 4.46 per cent decline in total subscriptions within the period under consideration.

The telecoms regulator explained that the decrease in operators’ subscriber base was attributed mainly to the effect of its directive in December 2020 to all GSM operators to suspend the sale and registration of new SIMs, and SIM swaps and all porting activities.

NCC said the objective of the audit exercise was to verify and ensure compliance by Mobile Network Operators with the set quality standards and requirements of SIM Card Registration as issued by the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the Commission.

According to the report, teledensity decreased from 107.18 per cent as of December 2020 to 102.40 per cent one year after. The number of Internet subscribers decreased from 154,318,925 subscriptions to 141,994,285 subscriptions as of December 2021 representing a decline of eight per cent.

In terms of broadband penetration, the number decreased from 45.02 per cent in 2020 to 40.88 per cent as of December 2021. Similarly, broadband subscriptions decreased from 85,941,222 to 78,041,883.

On Internet usage, the report noted that there was an increase in the volume of data consumed in 2021 when compared with 2020. NCC said the total volume of data consumed by subscribers increased to 353,118.89 TB as of December 2021 from 209,917.40 TB a year before, representing 68.2 per cent of data consumption within the period.

In the areas of contribution to the Gross Domestic Product, the industry contribution to the economy increased from 12.45 per cent in Q4, 2020 to 12.61 per cent a year after.