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Friday, 18 October 2013

Subscribers spend N740.5bn on calls –Investigation


Nigeria’s mobile telephone subscribers have spent an estimated N740.5 billion on phone calls in the first seven months of this year, according to National Mirror investigation.
The expenditure is based on an Average Revenue Per User, ARPU, figure of N900 for the Nigerian telecoms industry and the official active subscriber base per each month as released by the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
The ARPU is a financial performance benchmark in the telecoms industry that measures the average monthly revenue generated by operators from each customer. According to investigation, with industry’s ARPU of N900, telecoms subscribers spend an estimated of over N100 billion each month from January through July.
The NCC official data showed that the number of active Global System of Mobile communication, Code Division Multiple Access and fixed lines was 114.4 million in January; and with an ARPU of N900 per month, the subscribers must have spent an average of N102.9 billion on calls in January alone.
In February, March and April, when active telephone subscriptions increased to 116.6 million, 117.2 million and 119.3 million, the total money spent by telephone users moved up to N104.9 billion, N105.4 billion and N107.3 billion, respectively.
Findings also revealed that the expenditure increased to N108.6 billion in May when total active telephone subscriptions increased to 120.7 million; but declined slightly to N108.2 billion in June with active phone subscriptions standing at 120.3 million while at the end of July, the figure fell significantly to N103.2 billion as networks recorded sharp decline in active mobile subscriptions to 114.7 million.
Subscribers’ expenditure adds up to estimated N740.5 billion for the seven months. Reacting to the subscribers’ increasing expenditure on telephone services, President, National Association of Telecoms Subscribers, NATCOMS, Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said telecoms services were taking priority position in the daily needs of Nigerians.
He said: “While I may not be able to tell you categorically how much we spend monthly on phone calls as subscribers, it is understandable that Nigerians spend a sizeable chunk of their incomes on telecoms services, which are replacing travel expenditures for the people.”
Ogunbanjo said next to shelter, food and other needs of man “is the need to communicate which saves us a lot of time that would have been wasted travelling from one place to another to see relatives or do transactions with business associates”.
The NATCOMS president added that the huge amount of money expended daily on telephone services by Nigerians had informed the insistence by the association that subscribers must get value for their money.
He said: “We have recently asked the operators to provide N5,000 worth of free airtime to each subscriber on their networks as compensation for the poor services they were offering subscribers in recent past, a development that operators and the regulators have shunned.”
Ogunbanjo, however, said NATCOMS had instituted a legal action in court to ensure that operators comply with the demand by the subscribers which suffered the adverse effects of the poor services they were offering their consumers. In the writ of summons with suit number: FHC/L/CS/1411/13 dated October 10, 2013 and filed by NATCOMS with NCC as defendant.
Joining as co-defendants in the suit are the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria, ALTON, MTN, Globacom, Airtel Nigeria and Etisalat.
It was gathered that NCC failed to take any action regarding the rights group’s demand on airtime compensation for poor quality of service in an earlier petition, which NATCOMS claimed it wrote to the commission and the operators requesting for compensation.
This informed the need for the legal action to also press home NATCOMS’s demand. However, the ALTON National Chairman, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo, said operators’ desire was to always provide quality of service to their teeming subscribers in the country.
He said: “Occasional services issues are associated to a number of operating and regulatory albatross which require the intervention of all stakeholders to solve for the operators. “When service goes bad, operators also lose money. It, therefore, means that no rightthinking operator would want its network to have service issue with its subscribers.”

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