More than 35 million MTN Nigeria subscribers have submitted their national identification numbers (NINs), representing more than half the company’s subscriber base and 63 percent of its service revenue, the company said yesterday. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK
More than 35 million MTN Nigeria subscribers have submitted their national identification numbers (NINs), representing more than half the company’s subscriber base and 63 percent of its service revenue, the company said yesterday. Photo: EPA/KIM LUDBROOK

MTN Nigeria makes headway with national ID numbers

By Dineo Faku Time of article published May 4, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - MORE THAN 35 million MTN Nigeria subscribers have submitted their national identification numbers (NINs), representing more than half the company’s subscriber base and 63 percent of its service revenue, the company said yesterday.

Commenting on the company’s operational results for the quarter to the end of March, MTN Nigeria chief executive Karl Toriola said yesterday that the company continued to collaborate with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the Nigerian Identity Management Commission to update subscriber records with NINs.

The Nigerian telecommunications industry was rocked by the NCC’s decision to suspend the sale and activation of new SIM cards in December as part of a policy that requires mobile operators to integrate their subscribers’ NINs with their SIM registration details.

Toriola said that following the commencement of SIM sales and activations, the initial run-rate of additions might be slower than usual due to new process requirements, system limitations and the reduction of qualified locations for SIM registration.

“While this may impact the rate of additions in the short term, we are optimistic that the current processes under way will entrench a more robust and sustainable registration process as we reaccelerate subscriber growth over the medium term,” Toriola said.

MTN Nigeria said mobile subscribers had declined by 5 million at the end of the March quarter to 71.5 million on the effects of customer churn and the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations.

As a result of the overall decline in subscribers, active data subscribers declined by 71 000 to 32.5 million.

However, Toriola said MTN Nigeria recorded 17.2 percent year-on-year growth in service revenue, in line with its medium-term target, supported by growth of 42.6 percent and 8 percent in data and voice revenue, respectively.

“This was achieved despite the impact of the pandemic and a decline in our subscriber base due to the effects of customer churn and the restrictions on new SIM sales and activations arising from changes in SIM regulations,” said Toroila.

MTN Nigeria recorded an 86.7 percent increase in data traffic and a 48.5 percent increase in megabyte use per user from the existing base.

“The improvement in data services was supported by the completion of our acquisition and activation of an additional 800MHz spectrum. This enabled us to further increase traffic by 10 percent and enhance throughput by 79 percent,” said Toroila.

Highlights for the quarter included a 101 percent increase in digital revenue and a 28.5 percent increase in fintech revenue as customers continued to adopt more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by the Covid-pandemic. Capital expenditure was 89.9 billion naira (about R3.4bn), up 19.3 percent, mainly due to site rollouts, while free cash flow increased by 18.9 percent to 114.7bn naira.

MTN Group shares closed 3.23 percent lower at R88.31 on the JSE yesterday.

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