MTN hits 195 million subscribers

MTN says it is connecting approximately 195 million people in 22 countries in a quarterly update for the period ended March 2013, however, its operation in South Africa experienced a 1.9% decline to 24.950 million from 25.421 million in Q4 2012.

MTN Group President and CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa said: “The group started the year strongly, increasing subscriber numbers by 3.2% quarter on quarter to 195.4 million. This supported growth in traffic volumes and local currency revenue.”

“In South Africa, despite a slow start to the year, MTN maintained its market share and reviewed its market offerings to be more competitive.”

MTN South Africa

MTN says that after a strong 2012, the past quarter was characterised by a weaker consumer environment as well as increased pricing competition in SA.

The business recorded 470,000 net disconnections, a quarter on quarter (QoQ) decrease of 1.9% in the traditionally weak period, to 24.950 million which was further exacerbated by the strong subscriber growth recorded in the last quarter of 2012.

In the period under review, the average price per minute (PPM) declined 5.5% compared to the same period a year earlier, placing some pressure on revenue growth.

Blended ARPU declined 8.1% to R110.62 as a result of promotional activities and a decline in effective tariffs.

However, MTN says that, towards the end of the quarter, there has been some sign of an improvement in both subscriber and revenue trends.

“Data revenue remains a key focus for the business. In the past quarter, active data subscribers were 13.3 million, data revenue, including MTN Business and mobile data, increased approximately 15.7% YoY,” the group said.

MTN Nigeria

Following a challenging 2012, there was a continued improvement in the key operating metrics for the Nigerian business in the past quarter, MTN says.

“We recorded net additions of 3.9 million, an increase of 8.1% QoQ, as the market rebounded following the significant price reductions during August and September 2012.

“Encouragingly, revenue growth continued to track higher since bottoming out in September last year and local currency ARPU remained stable. We regained market share by 2 percentage points to 49.7%,” MTN said.

It says that in the past quarter, data subscribers reached 22.8 million, and data revenue increased approximately 63.5% in local currency YoY.

“We made good progress on our network rollout, adding 450 new 2G sites during the quarter compared to 211 in the same period last year. We also added 259 co-located 3G sites, bringing the total number of 3G sites to 3,508,” MTN said.

Other Operations

MTN Ghana increased subscribers by 2.5% QoQ, adding 290,000 subscribers. MTN says the business performed well with stable YoY local currency ARPU. A strong performance
in the data market supported ARPU, with data subscribers reaching 4.1 million and data revenue increasing 67.3% in local currency YoY.

MTN Irancell increased subscribers 2.6% QoQ. Data subscribers remained stable at 10.1 million at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 58.6% in local currency YoY.

MTN Cameroon increased subscribers by 2.6% QoQ, adding 192,000 subscribers in the period. Data subscribers reached 600,000 at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 42.9% in local currency YoY.

MTN Ivory Coast increased subscribers by 5.8% QoQ, adding 354,000 subscribers, while
data subscribers reached 900,000 at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 41.1% in local currency YoY.

MTN Uganda added 248,000 subscribers, growing 3,2% QoQ, while data subscribers reached 1.2 million at the end of the quarter and data revenue increased 53.6% in local currency YoY.

“MTN Syria continued to operate in a highly challenging environment with no improvement in the security situation. The business recorded net disconnections of 364,000, a 6% decrease QoQ, with both revenue and margins coming under pressure. This is expected to continue,” MTN said.

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MTN hits 195 million subscribers