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Spectranet boss, Venn, reveals why data services will remain poor for long

More facts have emerged as to why major GSM networks may have been either tactically programming their data services not to be so strong or avoiding investments in data services upgrade.

In an exclusive interview with the managing director of leading Internet Services Provider (ISP), Spectranet, Mr. David Venn, he said “whereas the networks will continue to assure Nigerians that they are doing all they can to grow data services, they are only targeting more traffic in voice service where the quantum of profits in the industry is domiciled”.

He said this was the reason why some major networks have unprecedentedly crashed their data prices just to technically attract subscribers from other networks whose data prices may be a bit higher.

To some of the networks that reduced data prices beyond profit level, they are making serious profits from voice calls being made by subscribers who were originally attracted to their networks based on their cheap data services.

He said money made by a network on voice traffic per megabyte is higher and unprecedented than money made per megabyte on data.

According to him, “This was the major reason considered by the regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to introduce data price floor late last year to save the data sub sector from being used as a weapon to kill ISPs and some GSM networks that have deep pockets”.

But the massive rejection of the price floor policy which has encouraged few networks to almost charge nothing for data services is resulting in subscribers’ movement towards the direction of cheaper data networks which translates to increasing subscriber base of the very few networks while bigger networks with strong data services continue to lose subscribers on networks with relatively weak data speed who are now making serious money from voice traffic.

It was not clear if this analogy was what reflected in the latest statistics released by the NCC on data traffic within networks.

According to data published by NCC, Globacom was the only network that recorded an increase in its internet subscriber base in the month of October, 2016.

The NCC Monthly Internet Subscribers Data for October published on its website showed that the total number of internet users on the networks of the four major operators shrank by 378,015 from 93.5m in September to 93.1m in October.

The latest report reconfirms Globacom’s position as Nigeria’s data grand masters as it grew its internet customer base to 27,185,552 million in October from 26,887,929 in September. This indicates an increase of 297,623 during the month.

On the other hand, MTN and Etisalat had reductions in the number of customers surfing the net on their network during the period, while Airtel did not record any increase as its figures for the two months were the same.

The data revealed that MTN had 32,464,779 million subscribers browsing the internet on its network in October, which is a decrease of 306,480 internet subscribers from the September figure of 32,771,259.

On its part, Airtel had 18,832,238 million internet users in October, the same figure it recorded in September. Like MTN, Etisalat had 14,693,492 million data customers in October, showing a loss of 369,158 compared to the 15,062,650 million users it recorded in the preceding month of September.

The NCC’s data showed that the CDMA operators lost 13,664 internet users, after recording 38,309 in October compared to the 51,973 figure recorded in September.

Besides, Globacom’s position as telecom subscriber’s first choice for internet services was strengthened in October when it became the first network to launch a nationwide rollout of the 4G LTE advanced network.