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MTN stalls in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria’s unaudited results for the quarter ended 31 March 2021 reveals a decline in both mobile and data subscribers, although it saw a healthy boost in revenues.

MTN reported that mobile subscribers declined by 5-million to 71.5-million due to the effects of customer churn and the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations, while active data users declined marginally by 71,000 to 32.5-million.

The good news for MTN investors is that service revenue increased by 17.2% to N385.2 billion (around US$980-million), while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 19.1% to N204.5 billion (about $500-million).

Capital expenditure was up by 19.3% to N89.9 billion, and profit before tax grew by 33.9% to N102.9 billion

“We made good progress in the first quarter of 2021 despite the continued impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” says MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola. “Operationally, service revenue in Q1 grew by 17.2% YoY, in line with our medium-term target, supported by growth of 42.6% and 8.0% in data and voice revenue respectively. This was achieved despite the impact of the pandemic and a decline in our subscriber base due to the effects of customer churn and the restrictions on new SIM sales and activations arising from changes in SIM registration regulations.”

He said that MTN continues to collaborate with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to update subscriber records with the National Identity Number (NIN).

“Thus far, more than 35 million subscribers have submitted their NINs as at 30 April 2021, representing approximately 50% of our subscriber base and 63% of service revenue. We are also actively supporting the Government’s NIN enrolment programme, with 182 points of enrolment active across the country. We are working with NIMC to increase the enrolment centres to provide an access point for as many Nigerian as possible.”

At the same time, improvements in data services were supported by the completion of MTN’s acquisition and activation of an additional 800MHz spectrum, enabling it to further increase traffic by 10% and enhance throughput by 79%.

Digital revenue grew by 101.0% and fintech revenue by 28.5% as customers continued to adopt more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. As at the end of March 2021, MTN had 449,100 registered MoMo agents and 4.6-million fintech customers.

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