MTN Nigeria reported strong earnings for the nine months to end September, boosted by an increase in subscriber numbers, and voice and data revenue. Photo: Reuters

DURBAN – MTN Nigeria reported strong earnings for the nine months to end September, boosted by an increase in subscriber numbers, and voice and data revenue. 

The group’s service revenue increased by 12.1 percent year-on-year to N854.9 billion (R35bn), in line with its medium-term double-digit guidance, driven by increases of 10.1 percent and 34.9 percent, respectively, in voice and data revenue. 

The group said yesterday that voice remained a key contributor to service revenue at 73.5 percent, with its growth supported by an increase in subscribers, relatively stable tariffs and its targeted segment offerings using their customer value management toolkit.

As a result, earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (Ebitda) increased by 39.3 percent to N460.1bn, with data revenue rising 34.9 percent during the period. 

MTN Nigeria chief executive Ferdi Moolman said the group’s performance was very encouraging, demonstrating the resilience of their business despite a challenging operating environment. 

“We sustained double-digit growth in service revenue led by growth in voice and data revenue," Moolman said. 

"We recorded 61.6 million subscribers, representing a 100 000 increase quarter-on-quarter. 

"We were required to undertake a SIM re-registration process, which resulted in a disconnection of around 600 000 active subscribers, limiting base growth."

However, its capital expenditure increased by 39.5 percent to N154.1bn year-on-year as the company expands its 4G/LTE network and profit after tax increased by 29 percent to N148.32bn. 

The number of active data subscribers increased by 7.6 percent to 22.3 million, driving data traffic growth of 68.9 percent.

Its fintech business continued to gain traction with 21.7 percent year-on-year growth in revenue driven by increased adoption of the Xtratime service, which allows subscribers to borrow airtime. 

Looking ahead, the group said it would continue to prioritise the expansion of its 4G network coverage and drive active data subscriber growth in the remaining quarter of the year. 

“We expect voice and data revenue to continue to grow on the back of subscriber growth and increasing demand for data services. We are excited about progress with our digital services following the completion of VAS optimisation and are focused on sustaining the quarter-on-quarter revenue growth we have seen,” Moolman said. 

BUSINESS REPORT