The recent data released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) shows Nigerians spending N2.68 trillion on airtime between January and October 2017, which is more than what the Federal Government spent on capital expenditure in the 2017 budget.
In 2016, the Federal Government proposed N7.298bn for the 2017 Appropriation Bill and N2.24trillion was budgeted for capital expenditure including capital in statutory transfer, Nigerians spent over N200billion more than this on recharge cards.
The airtime which is used to access both voice and internet services are purchased across different platforms.
Some of the platforms include Virtual Top-Up (VTU) done through USSD code, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), subscribers’ bank accounts domiciled on mobile devices, as well as physical recharge card option.
Most of these platforms have made it easier for Nigerians to quickly access airtime top-up from the comfort of their locations, thus resulting in Nigerians spending more on airtime now more than ever.
At the beginning of 2016, the active subscriber on mobile networks stood at 155.1 million, while the estimated household spending on airtime stood at N285.6 billion.
By the end of the year, N2.37 billion on airtime, active telephony connections stood at 153, 514, 107, while internet subscribers were 93, 176.061.
As at June 2017, Nigeria was ranked 8th in the list of internet users around the world, with the first being China, followed by India and America coming third.
Brazil, Indonesia, Japan, and Russia are ranked fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
Between 2013 till 2017, the number of mobile phone users increased from 4.01 billion to 4.77, and by 2019, it is forecasted to reach 5.07 billion, with an estimated 62.9% of the world already owning a mobile phone.