MTN Group chief executive officer Sifiso Dabengwa says his company closed out September 2014 with a consolidated mobile user base of 219.2 million, up 2% quarter-on-quarter, while revenue derived from data services climbed 34% between September 2013 and September 2014, to now account for 17.9% of total revenue. MTN says its strong data growth has been helped by the popularity of its Mobile Money service which now has 22.2 million subscribers. Further, Dabengwa also noted a return to form in its South African business, with the operator regaining traction in the three months under review, with 1.4 million net additions for a total of 26.7 million. MTN said the growth was mainly attributable to competitive offers such as ‘rush hour’ and ‘talk free’ in the pre-paid segment. As a result of these offers, pay-as-you-go users increased by 7.1% to 21,2 million, with the Group also noting encouraging growth in minutes of use during the quarter. The post-paid segment delivered a ‘satisfactory performance’ and grew its subscribers marginally to 5.5 million.
However, in its single largest mobile market, Nigeria, MTN said its local unit reported a marginal 0.1% fall in the user base, but still has more than 58.4 million connections. MTN Group said that the decline in Nigeria was ‘largely impacted by regulatory restrictions relating to the dominant operator ruling and continued unrest in the northern region during the quarter. While this muted subscriber performance is expected to impact revenue growth for the second half of the year, by mid-September the operation had resolved a number of issues with the regulator resulting in an improvement in subscriber growth,’ it said.
JSE-listed MTN also revealed that its Large Opco cluster of countries (i.e. Iran, Ghana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Syria and Uganda) had a total of 100.358 million users at end-September, up 1.9% q-o-q, while the Small Opco cluster (Yemen, Afghanistan, Benin, Republic of Congo, Zambia, Guinea, Rwanda, Cyprus, Liberia, Botswana, Guinea-Bissau, South Sudan and Swaziland) had a total of 33.770 million (+3.2%).