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MTN’s results a mixed bag: subscribers, data up, revenues down

MTN OTP scam warrenski Cell C roaming

MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile operator, reported a growth in quarterly subscribers on Thursday. The increase is not huge by any means but it is still impressive considering that the cellular faced tough competition as well as earlier this year battling stringent new rules in some markets.

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Of particular worry was the decision by the Nigerian telecommunications regulator to fine the country’s three biggest mobile operators, including MTN, for the quality of their service and prohibited them from selling new SIM cards in March.

MTN said the growth of subscribers increased by two percent over the three months ending on 30 September 2014. The two percent brings MTN’s customer base of 219 million people in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

MTN In Africa

The mobile operator’s performance in Africa varies in the different countries.

In South Africa data revenue continued to grow strongly, increasing by 26.4% YTD and now contributing 17.8% of the company’s total revenues. This can mainly be attributed in an increase in data users which increased by 31.7% YTD and the introduction of a low-cost MTN Steppa smartphone during the quarter. MTN claims that the Steppa sold 58 300 units. Also attributed with the increase in data revenue is the launch of other products like MTN Biz Plus, MTN Yello Health, MTN Music plus MTN Yello and cover. Average revenue per use (ARPU) declined by 0,1% despite adding 1.4-million new subscribers in the country.

More: MTN’s $50 Steppa smartphone changes (almost) everything

In Nigeria, MTN reported a small decline in its subscribers to 58.4-million. This, the company says, is largely down to “dominant operator” ruling mentioned above, as well as continued unrest in the northern region during the quarter.

MTN Ghana grew its subscribers by 0.8% to 13-million. Local data revenue increased by 156% YTD and it now makes 18.3% of MTN’s total revenue in that country. The impressive data growth was, it seems, a result of improved 3G coverage. Mobile Money showed positive momentum, recording 3-million registered customers at the end of the quarter.

MTN Cameroon showed a solid performance. It increased its subscriber base by 9.7% to 11.2-million. Local currency data revenue meanwhile increased by 45.2% YTD, contributing 8,2% to total revenue.

MTN Uganda managed to pass 10-million subscribers. It increased its base by 2.6 % to 10.1-million users. The biggest attraction for consumers, MTN says, was Mobile Money.

MTN Ivory Coast and Sudan both saw a decline in its subscribers base.

Image: warrenski via Flickr.

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