Fluctuating exchange rates have hit MTN’s numbers for the third quarter hard, with reported group total revenue and group service revenue reducing by 13.4% and 14% respectively year on year. However, in constant currency terms, the Johannesburg-headquartered telecommunications provider is showing signs of operational improvement.
On a constant currency basis, group total revenue increased by 6.9%, with service revenue up 7.4%. Data revenue increased by 31.4% and digital revenue was up 19.6%.
However, subscriber numbers declined by 0.7% quarter on quarter to 230.2m, mainly as a result of lower reported subscribers in Nigeria and Uganda. This is due to a refinement in active subscriber definitions in Nigeria and Sim-card registration regulations in Uganda.
Voice traffic (billable minutes) increased by 9% and data traffic continued to grow strongly, up by 125% year on year, MTN said in a note to shareholders published before markets opened on Tuesday. Year-to-date capital expenditure came in at R18bn, up just over 1% on a year ago.
Active MTN Mobile Money customers increased by 10.6% over the second quarter to reach 19.8m.
Group CEO Rob Shuter said network investments in South Africa and Nigeria are “showing encouraging improvements in network quality and Net Promoter Scores”.
“In South Africa, the prepaid business performed well and progress is being made in the post-paid segment, particularly in consumer post-paid where we now have positive net adds year to date,” Shuter said.
“In Nigeria, our month-on-month gross connections have increased, and we experienced stable subscriber market share over the quarter while driving increased value share.”
He said MTN is on track to meet its full-year guidance “despite continued challenging economic growth across our markets”.
In South Africa, subscriber numbers declined by 1% to 30.9m, driven lower by prepaid, where there was higher churn following the withdrawal of a promotion in the second quarter. Post-paid subscriber numbers were stable.
“The post-paid consumer segment recorded positive net additions in the quarter, demonstrating a continued encouraging recovery in this segment,” MTN said. “This was supported by improvements made in customer value management, increased channel footprint and enhanced churn management.”
MTN Nigeria grew revenue by 11.2% (in constant currency terms), supported by a 5.4% growth in voice revenue and a 72.1% growth in data revenue. Subscriber numbers in this market declined by 5.2% to 50.3m due to “modernisation of subscriber definitions”.
“On a like-for-like basis, MTN Nigeria reported positive net additions and continued to gain value share in the quarter,” the group said. “To further drive subscriber growth, increasing the Sim registration footprint remains a priority.”
MTN Irancell, in which MTN has a 49% stake, performed well thanks to a 64.5% growth in data revenue. The operation’s subscriber base expanded by 1% in the quarter. — © 2017 NewsCentral Media