Millicom hails subscriber growth in 2021 - Mobile World Live

Millicom hails subscriber growth in 2021

14 FEB 2022

Millicom CEO Mauricio Ramos (pictured) noted mobile network investments and expansion in markets including Colombia, Guatemala and Panama had borne fruit in 2021, and detailed plans for a fibre push this year.

On an earnings call, the executive pointed to the addition of more than 3 million subscribers during 2021, more than 1 million of which were post-paid users. While the bulk of these users came from Colombia, Ramos explained all Millicom markets enjoyed growth.

Ramos said Millicom produced its “strongest performance in years” in terms of subscriber growth, crediting the operator’s “strategy to push post-paid”.

The group’s Latin America unit, which consolidates joint ventures in Guatemala and Honduras, reported more than 44.9 million mobile subscribers, of which close to 22 million were 4G and more than 6 million were post-paid.

Millicom reported a 6.7 per cent rise in full year service revenue in this segment to $6.2 billion, which Ramos described as “our fastest organic growth rate in years”.

CFO Tim Pennington noted Millicom reported positive year-on-year growth in every quarter of 2021, with organic revenue up 5.7 per cent in Q4.

At present, Millicom reports separate group figures from LatAm results, although Pennington noted this will change from 2022 following the consolidation of Tigo Guatemala. Group figures showed a net profit of $590 million for 2021, compared with a loss of $344 million in 2020.

This year, Millicom is switching some of its investment focus to its fixed network, aiming to reach an additional 1 million homes, of which more than half will be covered by fibre-to-the-home.

At the end of 2021, its cable and other fixed networks passed 12.7 million homes.

Ramos noted the cost of the accelerated fixed network deployment “will be more than offset by a moderation of our investments in our mobile networks” as modernisation and expansion projects spanning the past 24 months draw to a close.

Millicom is targeting organic operating cash flow growth of around 10 per cent per year over the next three years on average, reflecting expected mid-single-digit organic service revenue growth and annual capex of around $1 billion.