By Staff Reporter
VOICE and data services have earned Airtel Nigeria N892 billion, according to the audited financial report released Thursday by Airtel’s parent company, Airtel Africa to the Nigeria Exchange Limited (NGX).
Specifically, the Nigeria operating company recorded a 13.4 per cent growth in voice revenue to N484.9 billion ($1.053 billion), while data revenue for the period rose by 27.8 per cent to N407.1 billion ($884 million).
The N892 billion is outside other revenues, including those from digital services and fintech operations.
Airtel, however, pointed out that the results would have been better but for the cash scarcity experienced in Nigeria in the first quarter of this year, which slowed down its revenue in the period.
According to Airtel, 50 per cent of total recharges by Nigerians are cash-based, which was why its revenue was impacted by the recent cash crunch.
While highlighting the impact of data on its results, Airtel disclosed that its 2023 revenue was boosted by both data customer base growth of 17.3 per cent and data ARPU growth of 9.9 per cent.
Commenting on Airtel Nigeria data push and consumption, Airtel Africa CEO, Segun Ogunsanya said: “Over the last year, we have enhanced our 4G network with ample data network capacity to provide high-speed data to our customers with almost 100 per cent of our sites now on 4G and data capacity increase of 27.5 per cent.
“This has contributed to 4G data customer growth of 27.6 per cent. Data usage per customer increased by 24.8 per cent facilitating continued data ARPU growth. Data usage per customer reached 5 GB per customer per month from 4 GB per customer per month in the previous period.
“In Q4’23, 4G data usage per customer increased to 9.5 GB per month (up by 46.5%) from 6.5 GB per customer per month in prior period. 4G data usage now contributes to 80.4 per cent of total data usage on our network.”
Speaking on improving the firm’s service offerings, Airtel said it would continue to push quality data offering by expanding its 4G coverage, while the soon-to-be-launched 5G will enhance the experience for its customers.
“The acquisition of 5G spectrum will underpin our growth strategy by enabling the launch of higher speed connectivity to enhance customer service and accelerate digitalization for consumers, enterprises, and the public sector.
“The key benefits of 5G will include higher speeds, lower latency, significant network capacity as well as an improved user experience. Further, the deployment of 5G will accelerate the availability and efficiency of fixed wireless access products across the country, contributing towards Airtel Nigeria’s progress in meeting the National Broadband Plan targets.” Ogunsanya said.
The Airtel Africa CEO said over the last year, the operating environment has been challenging in many ways, “yet our strategic focus on providing reliable, affordable and accessible services across our markets has enabled us to sustain our top-line growth momentum. The resilience of our underlying EBITDA margins has shown the effectiveness of our operating model, despite significant inflationary and foreign exchange pressures. Strong customer and ARPU growth over the year demonstrates that demand for our services remains very strongand gives us the confidence to continue investing to support ourfuture growth potential. Over the year, we invested $500 million on additional spectrum, including 5G, across many of our OpCoswhich,combined with our capex,will underpin our growth ambitions. Despite this investment, and driven by a disciplined capital allocation policy, our balance sheet remains strong and has been further de-risked over the last year by the prepayment of $450 million HoldCo debt in July last year.”