MTN Nigeria loses over 80,000 subscribers

MTN Nigeria lost more than 80,000 subscribers for the quarter ending 30 September 2014.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) listed mobile operator released its quarterly update on Thursday, which showed that the telecom firm’s growth-driving operation in Nigeria has suffered a decline.

MTN is Nigeria’s largest mobile operator with more than 58 million subscribers.

But for reported third quarter MTN Nigeria recorded 58.363,000 million subscribers, a figure lower than the 58.446,000 million subscribers it reported in the previous quarter.

MTN says the decline is largely impacted by regulatory restrictions and even instability in Nigeria’s northern areas where an insurgency by Boko Haram militants is taking place.

Meanwhile, the regulatory restrictions MTN refers to are related to a ‘dominant operator’ ruling. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has threatened to sanction MTN Nigeria for abusing its dominant position in the country’s telecommunications market

“MTN reported encouraging results for the third quarter… however, performance was impacted by continued aggressive competition and stringent regulatory requirements,” said MTN chief executive officer Sifiso Dabengwa in a statement.

“Nigerian operation faced a challenging regulatory environment resulting in lower-than-expected growth,” he added.

Nigerian losses tempered by SA gains

Meanwhile, MTN’s South African operations rebounded for the period, adding 1.4 million net additions for the quarter.

The South African operations increased its subscriber base by 5.7% to 26.7 million.

Furthermore, MTN South Africa’s prepaid subscriber base increased by 7.1% to 21.2 million as well as postpaid subscribers, which grew marginally to 5.5 million 2.0 million.

MTN stated that growth in the prepaid segment was mainly driven by competitive offers such as rush-hour and talk free initiatives.

“The South African operation delivered an improved performance in the prepaid segment supported by competitive offers,” said Dabengwa.