MTN’s Subscriber Growth Stalls on Regulatory Pressures

The telco is also working on reducing the out-of-bundle data pricing across its markets to stimulate usage from inactive and low usage customers.

MTN Logo (Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)
MTN Logo (Photo Credit: Voice of the Cape)

The growth of MTN subscribers stalled as regulatory changes introduced to register customers reduces the number of users for Africa and the Middle East’s largest mobile phone operator.

Although Active MTN Mobile Money customers rose in the quarter ended 30 September by 10,6% to 19,8 million, the voice subscribers for the group marginally dropped by 0,7% quarter-on-quarter to 230,2 million.

The mobile phone operator, which has operations in big markets such as South Africa, Iran, attributed the decline in subscribers to lower reported users in Nigeria as the company continue to refine its active subscriber definitions as well as the disconnection of about 750 000 subscribers in Uganda because of regulatory SIM registration requirements.

The company continue to work on the modernisation of its subscriber definitions which it expects to complete by year-end

The company also reported that on a constant currency basis total revenue increased by 6,9% and data revenue rose by 31,4% and digital revenue (Mobile Money (MoMo) and value-added services (VAS)) was up 19,6%.

It added that MTN Nigeria reported an 11,2% rise in total revenue supported by data revenue growth of 72,1%.

In Iran, MTN saw revenue rose by 16.8%

The company has spent R18 billion year-to-date on capital expenditure. In the quarter, MTN said it has accelerated its network investment programme, rolling out 1 641 3G and 2 102 4G sites (including co-located sites), supporting the demand for data services. MTN said in South Africa and Nigeria the network investments are showing encouraging improvements in network quality and NPS.

Rob Shuter, MTN's CEO
Rob Shuter, MTN’s CEO (Photo Credit: African Business Magazine)

“The Group continued to make steady progress in implementing our BRIGHT strategy with a strong focus on operational execution across the group. Our key growth drivers of data and digital services performed well with revenue growth of 31,4% and 19,6% respectively,” said Rob Shuter, the CEO of MTN.

The company is also doing well in its two key markets of South Africa and Nigeria.

“In South Africa the prepaid business performed well and progress is being made in the postpaid segment particularly in consumer postpaid where we now have positive net-adds year to date,” said Shuter.

“In Nigeria, our month-on-month gross connections have increased, and we experienced stable subscriber market share over the quarter while driving increased value share.”

The telco is also working on reducing the out-of-bundle data pricing across its markets to stimulate usage from inactive and low usage customers.

“This is expected to have a short-term impact on data revenue growth, but we anticipate elasticity in the mass and high-value segments will continue to drive data revenue growth in the medium term,” said Shuter.


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