MTN Nigeria now has 61.6m subscribers, revenue up 12%

MTN Nigeria, which is part of South Africa’s mobile phone giant lifted service revenue by 12.1% to 854.9 billion naira, driven by increases in voice and data revenue, the company’s unaudited results for the nine months ended September 30 showed.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA grew by 39.3% to 460.1 billion naira, while capital expenditurejumped 39.5% to 154.1 billion naira.

Subscriber numbers grew by 100 000 to 61.6 million, in what is African’s most populous country.

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC in 2015 fined MTN $5.2bn for failing to disconnect up to five million unregistered SIM cards. The fine was later reduced to $3.9bn.

“We were required to undertake a SIM re-registration process, which resulted in a disconnection of around 0.6 million active subscribers, limiting base growth,” the company said in its financial statement released on Thursday.

The company stated that voice remained a key contributor to service revenue at 73.5%, compared to 74.8% in the third quarter of 2018, supported by “relatively stable tariffs” among other things.

Data added 18.0% to operating revenue, up from 15% in the third quarter of the year.

“Our performance was very encouraging, demonstrating the resilience of our business despite a challenging operating environment. We sustained double-digit growth in service revenue led by growth in voice and data revenue,” MTN Nigeria CEO, Ferdi Moolman.

The firm said the remaining quarter of the year would be focused on expanding the 4G network coverage and increasing active data subscriber growth.

Voice and data revenue is expected to continue to grow on the back of subscriber growth and increasing demand for data services.

MTN operates in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East. MTN group’s share price on the JSE fell by 2% in midday trade, exchanging hands at R92.77