Telcos set to lose $3billion messaging revenue to WhatsApp, Telegram, others

By Ralph Tathagata

A recent projection that Over-the-Top (OTT) business messaging traffic will hit $375 billion messages in 2028, and 100 billion messages in 2023, could cost telecom operators in Nigeria and elsewhere a revenue loss of over $3 billion in SMS business messaging revenue in the next five years.

An OTT media service is offered directly to videos via the internet, and Amazon, WhatsApp, Netflix, and Skype are the major players in the this category.

The projection is based on the Nigerian Communications Commission’s (NCC’s) recent report that Nigerian telecom users spent about N3.3 trillion on calls, data, and SMS in 2022. SMS is a huge source of revenue for telcos in Nigeria, pegged at N4 per SMS by the telecom regulator.

What’s more? NCC specifically stated in its 2022 Subscriber/Network Data Annual Report that, the total number of active subscribers rose from 195.4 million in 2021 to 222,571 million active voice subscriptions as of December 2022, an increase of 13.86% yearly.

The report noted that about 14.09 billion SMS messages were sent, and about 11.84 billion were received with MTN recording the highest number of text messages exchanged. Also, the International SMS sent as of December 2022 was 59,571,547, while the total number of SMS received was 459,329,782.

It would be recalled that Nigeria ranked seventh in the world for mobile phone usage and eleventh for internet reach, according to a separate report by NCC in August this year.


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