MTN Group has lifted its subscriber base by 4% in the quarter ended 31 March. It now has 147,2m customers on its networks in 21 countries in the Middle East and Africa. At the end of December 2010, the figure was 141,6m.
The emerging markets telecommunications giant MTN Group published its latest quarterly subscriber figures on Friday afternoon.
MTN SA’s market share fell marginally in the first quarter of this year, compared to last year, due to increased competition in the prepaid market, growing subscribers by 1,9% during the quarter, compared to 2,2% in the same period last year. It now has 19,2m subscribers – 15,8m prepaid users and 3,4m contract customers.
“The growth was slower than expected as a result of higher prepaid disconnections due mainly to seasonality, although some distribution difficulties also contributed.”
SA has also slipped in terms of the contribution it makes to the regional breakdown. It now contributes 58% of subscribers in MTN’s South and East Africa region, compared to 60% previously.
Data, including SMS, continues to grow strongly. In SA, smartphones account now account for 11% of the postpaid and 1,5% of the prepaid base.
The average revenue per user (Arpu) in SA fell by 10%. SA contract users now spend on average R299/month compared to R329/month in the previous quarter. Prepaid Arpu fell from R112 to R101.
Prepaid customers, who were spending on average R112/month in the December quarter, spent R101/month in the three months to March.
Nigeria and Iran remain MTN’s largest markets by subscribers, with Nigeria accounting for 60% of subscribers in West Africa and Iran contributing 66% of subscribers in North Africa and the Middle East.
The full breakdown of Arpu and subscriber numbers by country is below. — Staff reporter, TechCentral