Millicom International Cellular (MIC), which operates mobile and cable networks throughout Latin America and Africa under the Tigo brand, has booked a 6.6% annual increase in revenues for its second quarter, booking top line earnings of USD1.447 billion in the three months ended 30 June 2014, compared to USD1.357 billion twelve months earlier. EBITDA declined by 3.4% year-on-year to USD479 million, with EBITDA margin dipping 3.5 percentage points to 33.1%.
MIC continues to see expansion in its African wireless customer base at the expense of average revenue per user (ARPU), the group claiming a total of 22.492 million users on the continent compared to 18.479 million a year earlier, whilst mobile ARPU slid from USD3.8 in Q2 2013 to USD3.3 in Q2 2014. MIC’s South American division saw a similar trend, albeit on a smaller scale, with mobile users increasing by 1.533 million to 14.406 million and ARPU dropping by USD0.3 to USD11.3. Finally, Central America saw subscriber numbers slide 1.0% year-on-year to 15.417 million although strong uptake of more lucrative mobile data services helped slow the decline in ARPU, which edged down by just USD0.1 y-o-y.
The group’s cable and media division, which encompasses cable broadband, pay-TV and fixed telephony, has also seen strong subscriber growth, booking 1.344 million revenue generating units (RGUs) at end-June 2014 compared to 1.139 million a year earlier. As in its other sectors, price erosion has seen a negligible dip in ARPU, although a shift towards more expensive services such as high definition (HD) TV and value-added services (VAS) has gone some way to compensate for the decline. Helping fuel its recent growth, MIC has rolled out its new ‘Tigo Star’ sub brand in Paraguay, Bolivia, Costa Rica, El Salvador and Honduras, whilst a direct to home (DTH) satellite TV platform was launched in five countries (Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, Bolivia and Guatemala). Looking forward, the anticipated merger of Tigo Colombia with Une-EPM will see MIC offer cable services throughout its entire LatAm footprint.