A 15-month report on short message service (SMS) and mobile data use in the country indicates SMS use declined year on year as mobile data consumption more than doubled same period.

The report, covering the period between second quarter of 2015 and second quarter this year, is contained in the maiden edition of National Communications Authority’s Quarterly Statistical Bulletin on Communications in Ghana, released just days ago. 

It shows a 25.2% decline in the number of SMS sent both on-net and off-net, between and within the six telecom operator, over the period between under consideration.  

Meanwhile, the gigabytes of mobile data consumed within the same six telcos rose by more than 100% over the same period.

In terms of the real figures, total SMS sent over the period stood at 684.44 million at as second quarter 2015, but dropped by more than 172.5million to 511.9million by Q2 2016.

Mobile data consumption, on the other hand, more than doubled from 7.44million gigabytes in Q2 2015, to 14.94million gigabytes in Q2 2016.

Out of the total number of SMS sent in Q2 2016, about 244million were off-net, meaning from one network to the other, and the remaining 278million were sent within same networks. 

Whereas the report attributes most of the SMS generated to application to person (A2P) notifications from either the telcos or their content providers to customers, it would also appear that quite a significant number of person to person (P2P) SMS was also generated as reflected by the off-net messages. 

MTN led the pack with 200.88million SMS in Q2 2016, representing 39.2% market share; followed by Vodafone with 141.52million SMS (27.6%); Tigo with 109.49million SMS (21.3%); Airtel with 55.57% (10.8%), and Glo with 437million SMS representing a meager 0.8%. Expresso did not report any SMS for that quarter.

SMS per subscriber also declined year on year from 21.1 in Q2 2015, to 14 SMS in Q2 2016.

This means each mobile phone user either sent and or received a total of 21 SMS between March and June 2015, but each person sent and or received 14 SMS between March and June this year.

On the mobile data side of things, again MTN led the pack with 6.33million GB usage in Q2 2016, representing 41.4% of the total; followed by Vodafone with 3.99million GB, representing 26.1%.

Even though Tigo took third position on the SMS league table, Airtel took that slot on the mobile data table with 3.53million GB data usage, representing 23.1%.

Indeed, even Surfline, with just a little over 81,000 customers generated about twice the data Tigo generated in Q2 2016, and that raises questions about how real Tigo’s “digital lifestyle” mantra is for its customers.

Tigo managed some 1.3million GB of data representing 8.8% market share, while Glo, in spite of the backing of its Glo One submarine cable, managed only 89,000GB of data representing a meager 0.6%.