Buying Data from API Providers vs. Self Sim Hosting


The data and airtime business in Nigeria is big, and worth lots of money. Many people want to join, and here we explain two ways to do it: buying data from an API provider platform or hosting SIM cards which one is profitable, and how to start?

When I initially launched my data platform,, my primary goal was to delve into SIM hosting as well before I did my research and discovered the real true color of SIM hosting.

Starting a SIM hosting requires a substantial initial investment, typically around 20 to 50 million Naira, to establish a VTU (Virtual Top-Up) business with SIM hosting profitably.

And using an API provider primarily involves connecting with SIM hosting owners, which doesn’t require a lot of money to get started.


Before I start talking about the good and bad sides of buying from API providers and doing self-SIM hosting, let me first tell you what the CEO of Topupmate ( Leader of Teleco Point ) Said:

He gave some useful info to help you decide between using API providers or doing it yourself.

He said:

“With Sim Hosting, Just Like Hosting Your Website Online, Sim Hosting Makes It Possible To Host Your Sim Card And Make It Accessible Online, So Request Can Be Sent To The Sim Card Online.

It Automates The Activity Of Selling Data From Your Sim.


As For The Data Itself, It’s an MTN SME Plan And You Can Purchase It From My MTN App.

1TB = 250k And 25TB = 5.3M

The more you buy, the more discount you get.

If you have the money to buy the data, all you need is to register with a SIM Hosting company such as SIM Server Or SME Plug, then get a developer to integrate it into your website.

Note, this is just for MTN only oh, Airtel’s own is even more serious, starting from N20M.

So mostly people from Partnerships gather the money together to purchase it.

Also, there isn’t much profit from the Sim Hosting, it’s based on transaction volume, so if you have a lot of API users, that’s when you can sell well.

Just to know, you don’t have to do SIM hosting, the main base of the business is agents and final users.

I know people who don’t do SIM hosting and they earn around 1M monthly

So just create your strategy.”

These insights from the CEO shed light on the different paths available in the world of data and airtime reselling.

Now, let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of both buying from API providers and venturing into self-SIM hosting to help you make an informed decision for your business.

Advantages of API Providers

  • 1. Easier Start: It’s simpler and cheaper to begin as an API provider. You don’t need lots of money upfront.
  • 2. Simpler Work: You connect to a big platform that sells at cheaper, and you don’t need complicated tech stuff to connect.

Disadvantages of API Providers:

Rely on Others: Your success depends on your relationships with VTU website owners and data companies. If those relationships get bad, it’s tough for your business.

Advantages of SIM Hosting (When You Have Many Users)

  • 1. More Money: SIM hosting can make you more money, especially when you have many users, like API users and resellers. More users mean more money.
  • 2. More Control: You can control how you do things more as a SIM host, which gives you flexibility.
  • 3. Cost Savings: As you get more users, it can cost you less to run things.

Disadvantages of SIM Hosting:

  • 1. Need Lots of Money: Setting up SIM hosting needs a lot of money at the start, and that’s a big challenge for many.
  • 2. Risky without Many Users: Without a big user base, SIM hosting can be risky and might not make you much money. You need lots of API users and resellers to do well.

So, your choice depends on your money and what you think will work best for your business in the data and airtime world.


In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between being an API provider or going down the path of SIM hosting in the data and airtime business, it comes down to your resources and what you think will work best for your business.

API providers have it easier when starting, with lower initial costs and simpler operations. However, they rely on other (SIM hosting owners).

On the other hand, SIM hosting can be more profitable, especially when you have many users, like API users and resellers.

It gives you more control and can cost less as your user base grows.

But it’s a high-risk game if you don’t have many users, and it requires a big initial investment.

So, take a good look at your budget and your plans for your business, and make your choice based on what fits best with your goals in the data and airtime business. Thanks for reading ❤️


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