MTN Group announced on Thursday that it has added 4.1 million new data users in the quarter to September 2021 to reach 119 million total data subscribers. The company attributed this a robust demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education.

Africa’s biggest mobile phone operator said this growth reflected a 52.6% growth versus the same period in 2020.

The group said as a result data revenue grew by 34.5%.

“It’s been a busy quarter, and I’m particularly pleased with the sustained operational momentum across our businesses,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita.

MTN also reported that subscribers increased by 0.2 million to 271.9 million, impacted by new SIM registration regulations in Nigeria. Excluding Nigeria, total subscribers were up by 1.6 million.

As more of MTN’s enrolment centres in Nigeria are certified for SIM registration in line with the current regulations, we expect positive net additions to resume during Q4 2021.

Driven by continued strong growth momentum in major markets Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, MTN Group’s service revenue ramped up 19.1% to R125 billion in the first nine months of the year.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 24.1%, with margins expanding 2.1 percentage points to 45.0% on a constancy-currency basis.

As part of its asset realisation programme, the listing of IHS was an important milestone, creating a liquidity platform for the future to deleverage further.

“Our further localisation in Uganda with the intention to sell 20% of the Group’s holding in MTN Uganda is in progress,” said Mupita.

“We are also announcing a public offer of just under 3% of shares in MTN Nigeria as part of the statement of intent communicated previously to further localise 14% of the Group’s holding in MTN Nigeria over the medium term. MTN South Africa is making good progress with a sale and leaseback of its towers.”

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