MTN closes higher on JSE after acquiring more spectrum in Nigeria
JOHANNESBURG - MTN, AFRICA'S biggest mobile operator, closed stronger on the JSE on Friday after it told shareholders that MTN Nigeria had acquired an additional 10MHz spectrum in the 800MHz band from Intercellular Nigeria.
The share price closed 4.09 percent higher at R86.88 on Friday.
MTN Nigeria, that country's largest mobile operator by subscribers, said on Friday that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) had approved the transaction and assigned the frequency to the group.
MTN Nigeria chief executive Karl Toriala said the newly acquired spectrum would significantly improve customer experience.
“Through this acquisition, we will be better positioned to support the deepening of broadband penetration in the country.
“The added resources will also greatly impact our customers' experience providing even better internet connectivity. It is our goal to keep finding ways to grant everyone access to a modern connected life,” Toriola said.
The additional spectrum has represented a further boost to the group's expansion of 4G LTE services across that country.
In 2019, the NCC approved the transfer of Visafone's 800MHz spectrum to MTN Nigeria, enabling the company to extend its network reach potentially to rural areas.
MTN had acquired Visafone in 2015 for R3.4 billion. The transaction was completed the following December.
MTN Nigeria 4G population coverage gained momentum during the year ended December 2020 after it closed the year with 132 cities covered by 4G and became the first west African mobile network operator to demonstrate the capability of 5G technology.
Last week, MTN Nigeria reported that it had connected 12.2 million new subscribers to its network during the year ended December 2020 bringing the total number of subscribers to 76.5 million.
The growth in subscribers helped to grow its service revenue by 14.6 percent.
The growth in the subscriber base provided support for voice revenue, which accounted for 67 percent of service revenue and rose by 5.6 percent.
The group said that the suspension of new SIM registration in mid-December did not have a significant impact on voice revenue as there was an increased level of activity from the existing base.
Data revenue rose by 51.7 percent for the year, maintaining the positive momentum from the effects of Covid19 lockdowns.
“The performance in data was enabled by a combination of increased subscribers, usage and ultimately traffic, which was in turn supported by increased network capacity and 4G penetration,” said MTN.
MTN said at the end of February, 48 percent,representing 37.2 million of the MTN Nigeria subscriber base had submitted their National Identification Number (NINs). Nigeria authorities have given mobile operators in that country until next month to ensure that subscribers' SIM cards are linked to their NINs.