FILE PHOTO: A man walks past an advertising poster for MTN on a street in Lagos, Nigeria
DURBAN -  MTN Group has grown its subscribers by 3.5 million in the quarter to end September, with active data subscribers increasing by 4.7 million quarter-on-quarter to 87 million subscribers. 

The group now serves 244 million customers across its 21 markets. 

In the nine months period, the group’s service revenue increased by 9.6 percent and its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) margin improved by 0.6 percent to 35.1 percent. 

Chief executive Rob Shuter said that service revenue growth and improvements in the group’s Ebitda margin continued into the third quarter of the year. 

“We remain committed to driving access to internet and financial services and in the third quarter we added 4.7 million active data users and 2.2 million Mobile Money subscribers across the portfolio. Our Ayoba messaging platform is now available across five markets and is already recording 515 000 active users per month,” Shuter said. 

However, MTN South Africa service revenue only increased by 0.4 percent year-on-year, with Ebitda margin of 36.6 percent. 

The performance of MTN South Africa continued to be impacted by a weak economy, the implementation of lower out-of-bundle data prices, new data usage rules and unrecognised roaming revenue from Cell C.

Looking ahead Shuter said although conditions have been tougher in the year, they have sustained its performance in 2019. 

“We are focussed on executing our BRIGHT strategy to deliver sustainable growth in our operations and to simplify our portfolio to reduce risk and improve returns,” he said. 

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE