Data beats voice

Finweek English Edition - - MARKETPLACE -

The MTN up­date showed an­other 4.5m sub­scribers dis­con­nected in its big­gest mar­ket, Nige­ria. The com­pany also pub­lished av­er­age rev­enue per user (ARPU) stats, a num­ber the tel­cos used to trum­pet un­til it started to slip a few years back. The Nige­rian ARPU in­creased 11.9%, sug­gest­ing that maybe those be­ing dis­con­nected were not qual­ity clients any­way. In South Africa ARPU was down 9.2% with pre­paid ARPU down 10.2%. This is the trend as users move away from ex­pen­sive air­time and SM­Ses to much cheaper mes­sag­ing ser­vices like What­sApp, Face­book Mes­sen­ger or any other ser­vice us­ing small amounts of data rather than the more ex­pen­sive tra­di­tional op­tions. I have writ­ten about this be­fore: the data us­age in­creases are sig­nif­i­cant, but at much lower rates as the large tel­cos ul­ti­mately turn into util­i­ties.

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