MTN Group’s largest subsidiary, MTN Nigeria, on Wednesday reported a sharp rise in subscriber numbers in the third quarter – up 3.9 million from the second quarter to reach 75 million – while active data subscribers climbed by 1.7 million to 30.7 million.
The emerging-markets telecommunications group revealed the numbers in the results for its Nigerian operation for the nine months to 30 September 2020.
Cumulative net additions totalled 10.7 million in the nine-month period, marking the first time it has exceeded 10 million additions in an annual cycle with one quarter remaining.
Despite the subscriber growth, MTN Nigeria’s operating margins came under pressure with from rising costs impacting its margins and dampening profitability, said outgoing CEO Ferdi Moolman. There was also volatility in both voice and data revenue affecting overall service revenue.
“Following a decline in voice traffic and an acceleration in data during lockdowns in Q2, we have seen a normalisation of traffic as restrictions have been removed, with a recovery in voice traffic and continued growth in data. This has supported a 13.9% growth in service revenue, with an acceleration of growth to 16.5% in Q3 specifically,” Moolman said.
Data revenue jumps
Data revenue rose by 57%, with an increase in data usage and traffic. Revenue from digital and fintech services rose by 114.3% and 28.3% respectively, while voice revenue growth was 4.2%.
“To accommodate the increase in traffic and enhance service quality for all our customers, we continued to invest in the capacity and resilience of our network, accelerating our 4G roll-out and expanding our investments in rural connectivity,” Moolman said. Its 4G network now covers 52.9% of the population, up from 48.6% in the second quarter and 35.4% a year ago.
Though earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda), rose by 9.1%, Ebitda margin declined by 2.3 percentage points to (a still impressive) 51% due to higher capital expenditure and the impact on central bank and exchange rate-related costs. Profit before tax and earnings per share declined by 0.6% and 3.3% respectively. — © 2020 NewsCentral Media