Pan-African and Middle Eastern mobile telecommunications operator, the MTN Group, now expects to add 23,7m new subscribers in 2012, up from previous guidance of 21,2m.
In a quarterly update, for the period ended 30 September, MTN says it has grown its subscriber base by 3,8% to 182,7m despite “aggressive pricing competition, regulations and economic challenges” across many of the 21 markets in which it operates.
In SA, MTN says it has continued the “strong momentum” seen in the first half of the 2012 financial year, with the subscriber base growing by 4,1% thanks to a good performance in prepaid services. Prepaid subscribers grew by 4,6% against 3,6% for the post-paid market.
Average revenue per user (Arpu) remained steady at R121,25, although prepaid Arpu showed an upward trend as minutes of use improved.
MTN SA had 24,5m subscribers, measured by the number of active Sim cards on its network. The group now expects SA to add 3,5m subscribers in 2012, up from previous guidance of 3m.
In Nigeria, MTN’s biggest market, subscriber growth was up by 5,7%, allowing it to maintain its market share. However, congestion levels on the network are a problem and capital expenditure on network infrastructure will be a key focus on the next six to 12 months, it says.
The Nigerian business now has 45,6m subscribers, again measured by active Sim cards, up from 43,2m at the end of June. Guidance for net additions has increased from 4m to 5,3m.
MTN Irancell delivered a “sound operational performance” despite what MTN calls an “increasingly challenging economic and political environment”.
The Iranian subscriber base grew by 2,8% in the quarter. Increasing levels of competition and high inflation had a negative effect on gross activations during the quarter. A marked weakening in the value of Iran’s currency is expected to have an impact on fourth-quarter earnings.
Irancell now has 39,3m active Sim cards on its network. Guidance for net additions for 2012 remains unchanged. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media