Regulatory Restrictions On New SIM Sales Bite Into MTN Nigeria Subscribers

MTN Nigeria
MTN Nigeria

MTN Nigeria subscribers dropped by 5 million to 71.5 million due to the effects of customer churn and the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations. This is according to the company’s Q1 2021 results released on Friday.

Last December, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) announced that the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) directed the NCC to embark on another audit of the Subscriber Registration Database again.

The regulator directed telecoms firms to stop selling SIM cards while it audits compliance with SIM registration rules.

“We continue to collaborate with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to update subscriber records with the
National Identity Number (NIN),” MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola, said.

“Thus far, more than 35 million subscribers have submitted their NINs as at 30 April 2021, representing approximately 50% of our subscriber base and 63% of service revenue.

“We are also actively supporting the Government’s NIN enrolment programme, with 182 points of enrolment active across the country. We are working with NIMC to increase the enrolment centres to provide an access point for as many Nigerian as possible.”

MTN Nigeria said voice revenue grew by 8%, supported by an 8.7% increase in traffic and customer value management initiatives. “The impact on voice revenue of the industry-wide suspension of new SIM registration in mid-December was partly offset by increased usage by active SIMs in our base and migration to a higher quality of experience.”

MTN Nigeria added that digital revenue grew by 101.0% and fintech revenue by 28.5% as customers continued to adopt more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. As of the end of March 2021, we had 449,100 registered MoMo agents and 4.6 million FinTech customers.

Capital expenditure in the quarter was N89.9 billion, up 19.3% mainly due to site
rollouts, while free cash flow increased by 18.9% to N114.7 billion.

“Our 2021 priorities remain unchanged, with a clear focus on sustaining double-digit
revenue growth, driving 4G network expansion and positioning our fintech business for accelerated growth in order to unlock its full value. The acquisition of additional
800MHz spectrum positions us to deliver improved service speeds to Nigerians in
support of the Government’s broadband initiative,” Toriola said.


“We will continue to manage and invest in the resilience of our business and networks as we monitor the longer-term economic potential impacts of the pandemic.”


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