MTN Nigeria added 3.3 million customers to its network in the six months to June, it said on Friday. AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY (ANA), BONGANI MBATHA /AFRICAN NEWS AGE
MTN Nigeria added 3.3 million customers to its network in the six months to June, it said on Friday.

Releasing its maiden interim results since listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in May, MTN Nigeria said its subscriber base had increased to 61.5 million.

MTN Nigeria chief executive Ferdi Moolman said that strong data and voice revenue had boosted the company's performance in the period under review.

“We added 3.3 million customers to our network, increasing our subscriber base to 61.5 million. Pleasingly, we saw data subscribers increase in the period by 2.1 million to 20.7 million,” Moolman said.

The company said it had made significant network investments to improve network quality and expand its 4G coverage.

“Our recent work to revamp our data prices and accelerate our 4G network has put us in a strong competitive position to offer more value to our customers, supporting data and voice revenue growth which will ultimately strengthen our business,” said Moolman.

He said the company was committed to driving digital customers after suffering a hefty 64.5 percent decline in digital revenue.

Moolman said digital revenue continued to be impacted by the optimisation of value-added services (VAS).

“Our focus is to build a sustainable base of active digital users in order to boost revenue growth,” said Moolman.

The VAS market has been riddled by allegations of underhand practices against providers, particularly on their billing method. There are allegations that subscribers were forced to subscribe to services they did not willingly subscribe to.

In May, MTN Nigeria became the second-biggest listed company on the western African country's bourse after cement maker Dangote, with a R71 billion valuation on the day of its listing.

Nigeria is the biggest market for Johannesburg-headquartered MTN Group, which holds 78.8percent of MTN Nigeria.

MTN has been in hot water with the Nigerian authorities in recent years following several run-ins with the country's authority that weighed heavily on its market capitalisation.

The group was slapped with a record $5.2bn (R74bn) fine in October 2015 for failing to deactivate 5.2 million unregistered SIM cards. The fine was later reduced to $1bn following a series of diplomatic negotiations.

It was compelled to list MTN Nigeria on the Nigerian Stock Exchange as part of the negotiated settlement.

The stock has been climbing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange since listing in May.

It gained 1.6 percent Friday to N127. It has leapt from N90 a share, its listing price in May.

Moolman said the listing was a vote of confidence in Nigeria and the company.

“The listing demonstrates our commitment to the Nigerian market and provides local investors with an opportunity to participate in and benefit from the company's growth prospects,” said Moolman.