MTN, Airtel rake in N403.2 billion from data service in Q3, 2023

Two leading mobile network operators in Nigeria, MTN and Airtel earned N403.2 billion from data service in Q3 2023 as data consumption by Nigerians peaked.

Specifically, MTN, the largest telecom operator in Nigeria by subscriber number recorded N279.5 billion as data revenue between July and September this year.

This represents 38.9% compared with the N201.1 billion it recorded in the same period last year.

According to Airtel Africa’s financial result for the quarter ended September 2023, Airtel Nigeria earned N123.7 billion ($157 million) from data subscriptions. This also represents a 29.3% growth in data revenue for the company.

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Increased data consumption

Both MTN and Airtel acknowledged that the data revenue growth was driven by the increase in data consumption by their customers.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of MTN, Karl Toriola, the increase in data usage was supported by the revamp of MTN data bundle offerings, an increase in the penetration of smartphones, and investments in its network to expand coverage and capacity and enhance customer experience.

“Our 4G network now covers 80.5% of the population, up from 79.1% in December 2022. Data usage (GB per user) grew by 29.1% to 8.6GB, and the number of smartphones on our network increased by 7.6%, bringing smartphone penetration to 53.4%, up 1. Consequently, we recorded a 46.3% growth in data traffic, with the 4G network accounting for 83.7% of the total traffic,” Toriola stated.

On his part, the CEO of Airtel Africa, Segun Ogunsanya, also noted that Airtel Nigeria recorded a significant increase in data consumption during the review period.

“Airtel Nigeria’s data revenue grew by 29.3% in constant currency, driven by data customer base growth of 17.4% and data Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) growth of 12.3%. Data usage per customer increased by 23.8% to 5.9GB per month (from 4.8GB in the prior period).

“Our continued 4G network rollout has resulted in nearly 100% of all our sites delivering 4G services. Furthermore, 233 5G sites are now operational. For the Q2’24 period, 4G customers accounted for 51.1% of our total data customer base and contributed to 85.3% of total data usage. Q2’24 4G data usage per customer reached 11.7 GB per month, an increase of 41.3% (from 8.3 GB per customer per month in Q2’23),” he said.

NCC’s data

Earlier, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) revealed that internet users in Nigeria consumed 655,879.86 terabytes of data in August this year.

The data released by the telecom regulator indicated that there has been a steady rise in the amount of data being consumed in the country.

The August usage represented a 6.6% rise when compared with 615,207.39 terabytes consumed in July.

Meanwhile, internet subscriptions in the country declined in the same month, indicating that existing subscribers increased their internet usage in the month.

According to the data, internet subscriptions across mobile, fixed, and VoIP networks slipped to 159 million in August from 159.5 million recorded in July 2023.

About the author


JOLOWO BUNALAYEFA PIUS is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for BUNADY NEWSLITE GLOBAL ENTERPRISE ( He started his Blogging/Journalism career at God's Own Wireless Company 2012. He's a graduate of Adekunle Ajasin University Akungba Akoko Ondo State, with a major in History And International Studies. You can contact him for press events, advertisement promotions on Email:

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