According to a New Telegraph investigation, telecoms subscribers in Nigeria have spent about N602.6 billion to purchase airtime for their phones between January and May.

The figure was arrived at using the subscriber data released monthly by the telecoms industry regulator, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the current industry’s Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) provided by the operators.

The report reads:

Two telecoms firms, MTN and Etisalat, put the current average spending by subscribers monthly at $6 (N936). Further investigation revealed that subscribers spent estimated N191.5 billion in January with based on the number of subscribers, which stood at 127 million and the ARPU averaging N936.

With the same ARPU, subscribers’ spending moved to an estimated N120.7 billion in February; N118.8 billion in March; N121 billion in April and in May, the airtime expenditure was conservatively estimated at N112.7 billion. Subscribers’ expenditure thus adds up to estimated N602.6 billion for the five months, indicating the premium paid to telecoms services by the consumers.

Official data show that MTN currently has about 57.2 million telephone users on its network. Airtel Nigeria trailed with 25.5 million; Globacom is third with 23.4 million while Etisalat has 18.5 million telephone users on its network.

The result is based on data released at the end of March.