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Airtel gains market share in data, voice services as MTN consolidates other revenue sources

Airtel Nigeria stepped up the battle of reclaiming more market share from the market leader, MTN Nigeria, in 2019/2020 financial year, as the strategies put in place by the former succeeded in moving its market share from 25 percent in 2018/19 to 27 percent in 2019/20 financial year. Airtel Nigeria’s financial year ends in March why that of MTN Nigeria ends in December.

In the last financial year, MTN Nigeria realised N1.169 trillion revenue from voice, data, SMS, roaming, handsets and accessories as well as from digital, VAS and other revenue. When compared with the revenue of the previous year, it was 12.57 percent higher than N1.039 trillion revenue made by the company in 2018.

For Airtel Nigeria, the firm made $1.373 billion as revenue during the financial year that ended in March 2020, representing 24.1 percent increase over $1.106 billion revenue made during the financial year that ended March 2019. Using Central Bank of Nigeria’s average exchange rate of N312.28/$ for January 2019 to March 2020, total revenue made in naira amounted to N428.76 billion in March 2020 while that of the revenue made in the previous year translated to N345.38 billion. The earnings came from voice, data and other revenue sources.

The above figures imply that Airtel succeeded in moving its voice market share from 25 percent to 27 percent within the period while the market leader, MTN shelved 2 percent of its voice market share which was 73 percent in 2019 as against 75 percent in 2018.

Airtel Nigeria gained more market share in the data market. In 2019, Airtel controlled 34 percent of the data market share, but that has risen to 38 percent by March 2020. On the other hand, MTN Nigeria’s data market share which was 66 percent in 2018 declined to 62 percent by December 2019.

The two telecoms firms made money from other sources regarded as ‘other revenue’ which mostly came from SMS, interconnect and roaming, handset and accessories, digital, value added services among others. MTN Nigeria remains the undisputed leader in this sector. In 2018, MTN Nigeria which accounted for 86 percent of the revenue from other sources ensured that its share of that market further increased to 89 percent whereas Airtel Nigeria’s market share of other revenue sources shrank to 11 percent from 14 percent in the previous year.

In terms of contribution, voice services contributed 62 percent of MTN Nigeria’s revenue in 2019 as against 66 percent in 2018. Data services contributed 19 percent of its revenue in 2019 compared with 15 percent in 2018. Interconnect and roaming services generated 11 percent of its revenue in 2019 in contrast to 10 percent in 2018. Those three business segments-voice, data and interconnect and roaming accounted for 90 percent of MTN Nigeria’s revenue in both 2018 and 2019.

For Airtel, 62 percent of its revenue was derived from voice services in 2020, even as it was lower than 67 percent which was the contribution of this source of revenue to the overall revenue in 2019.  Data sources contributed more revenue which rose to 32 percent in 2020 from 23 percent in 2019. Other revenue sources contributed 6 percent in 2020 down from 10 percent in 2019.

“More recently, the markets where we operate have begun to be impacted by the COVID 19 and the related actions that governments have implemented to reduce the risk of contagion. Our policy has been to keep our colleagues, suppliers and customers safe whilst supporting the communities which we operate. Telecoms businesses provide strategically essential services to ensure the functioning of economies and communities and are, therefore, more resilient compared to some other sectors.

“In Africa, the spread of the Covid 19 has lagged the rest of the world, and therefore, it is difficult to precisely forecast what the impact of this will be on customers and business. However, our performance during the month of April has been resilient as the business continued to deliver constant currency revenue growth, although at a lower rate”, Raghunath Mandava, CEO Airtel said.

On the Nigerian bourse year to date, Airtel Nigeria’s share price remained unchanged at N298.90 per share while MTN Nigeria has gained 4.8 percent to close at N110 per share last week.


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