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MTN experiences a drop in subscriber numbers

MTN experiences a drop in subscriber numbers

Despite recording a drop in the number of subscribers in markets including South Africa, Uganda, Nigeria and Cameroon, as well as an overall decrease of 0.7% in Group subscribers, mobile network operator MTN announced organic revenue increases in key markets in Africa, according to its quarterly update for the period ended 30 September 2017.

MTN Nigeria reported an 11,2% increase in total revenue supported by data revenue growth of 72,1%, but conceded that digital revenue growth has been negatively impacted by the ongoing optimisation of VAS services.

The region announced a 5.2% decrease in subscribers to its current level of 50,3 million and the company has affirmed its intention to focus on increasing the SIM registration footprint.

MTN South Africa's organic service revenue is said to have increased by 5.2%, with a 1.0% drop in subscriber numbers to 30,9 million – impacted by a 1.3% decline in the pre-paid segment, which the company said is mainly the result of higher churn following the withdrawal of a Q2 2017 promotion.

MTN Uganda reported a 29.8% increase in data revenue, supported by improved 3G coverage and the implementation of new CVM including contextualised pricing, and increased smartphone penetration.

At the same time MTN Cameroon registered a 18.2% increase in data revenue and 13.2% increase in digital revenue. Its subscriber base declined by 1.0% in the quarter which, according to MTN, was due to lower gross connections as a result of continued implementation of subscriber registration rules.

Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and CEO said, "The Group continued to make steady progress in implementing our BRIGHT strategy with a strong focus on operational execution across the group. Our key growth drivers of data and digital services performed well with revenue growth of 31.4% and 19.6% respectively. In the quarter, we have accelerated our network investment programme, rolling out 1 641 3G and 2 102 4G sites (including co-located sites), supporting the demand for data services. In South Africa and Nigeria the network investments are showing encouraging improvements in network quality and NPS."

"In South Africa the prepaid business performed well and progress is being made in the postpaid segment particularly in consumer post-paid where we now have positive net-adds year to date. 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 added that the company is working on reducing the out-of-bundle data pricing to stimulate data usage in line with its dual-data strategy.

"This is expected to have a short-term impact on data revenue growth but we anticipate elasticity in the mass and high value segments will continue to drive data revenue growth in the medium-term," said Shuter.

In early October the company announced MTN Ghana CEO Ebenezer Asante as the new VP of MTN Group's altered Southern & East Africa and Ghana (SEAGHA) region as of 1 October.

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