MTN Group president and CEO Rob Shuter (pictured) hailed “key growth drivers of data and digital services” in Q3, despite a decrease in overall subscribers due to declines in Nigeria and Uganda.
In a quarterly update for the period ending 30 September 2017, MTN said overall subscribers declined to 230.2 million from 234.7 million in Q3 2016. On a sequential basis, this translated into a 7 per cent dip “largely driven by lower reported subscribers in Nigeria”, MTN’s largest market.
MTN said its performance in the country was hit by “modernisation of subscriber definitions”, which saw its subscriber base in Nigeria decrease 5.2 per cent to 50.3 million. MTN said “increasing the SIM registration footprint remains a priority” to drive growth again.
The company’s overall subscriber base was also impacted by disconnecting approximately 750,000 subscribers in Uganda as a result of “regulatory SIM registration requirements”.
MTN does not break out group profit and sales figures in quarterly updates, but did reveal total revenue was down by 13.4 per cent year-on-year, “largely due to exchange rate movements”
But, on a constant currency basis, group revenue increased by 6.9 per cent year-on-year, data revenue by 31.4 per cent and digital revenue 19.6 per cent.
Since August, the company and Shuter have been pushing digital and data services through BRIGHT, a new initiative designed to reposition the operator.
The strategy comprises six pillars overall, with a long term intention to improve customer experience and grow the company through internet data and digital services, such as mobile money.
Notably, mobile money subscribers increased 10.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 19.8 million.
Shuter said the company made “steady progress” in implementing BRIGHT so far, with an acceleration in network investments.
He said the company had rolled out 641 3G sites and 102 4G sites, with its operations in South Africa and Nigeria “showing encouraging improvements in network quality and net promoter scores (NPS).”
Breaking out both markets, Shuter said the prepaid business in South Africa performed well in Q3, while data and digital service revenue increased 21 per cent and 27.7 per cent respectively year-on-year.
In Nigeria, the company experienced revenue growth of 11.2 per cent over Q3 2016, backed by 5.4 per cent growth in voice revenue and 72.1 per cent in data, which was driven by investments on expanding and improving 3G and 4G in the country.