Covid-19 (coronavirus) restrictions worked in MTN Group’s favour to some extent during Q3, contributing to an increase in mobile money users along with higher voice and data revenue which bolstered its overall service figure.
CEO Ralph Mupita highlighted the operator group’s role in growing financial inclusion across Africa, with the addition of 3.5 million MoMo money users in the quarter taking its total to 41.8 million.
But he noted the pandemic was not the only driver, explaining in an earnings statement adoption also benefitted from “enhancements to the functionality of the MoMo app”, an increase in registered agents and the integration of the service “into our instant messaging platform Ayoba in some of our markets”.
Data revenue was up 31.9 per cent year-on-year, “bolstered by increased demand for work from home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings”. A 3.9 per cent rise in voice revenue “reflects an encouraging recovery supported by the easing of lockdown restrictions and the gradual reopening of the economies in our markets”, Mupita said.
The CEO also highlighted “pleasing growth” in fintech (up 21 per cent) and digital sales (37.5 per cent).
Interruptions to network deployments caused by restrictions in Q2 lingered, resulting in MTN focusing on boosting “network capacity and resilience, and modernising our IT systems”, but Mupita noted some acceleration in infrastructure investment in the recent quarter as lockdowns eased.
He credited units in South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana for an overall rise in group earnings, though the company does not reveal these in quarterly statements.
Group service revenue grew 20.3 per cent to ZAR43.3 billion ($2.7 billion), with only units in Syria, Zambia and its Business Group registering declines.
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