MTN has published its quarterly trading update for the period ended 30 September 2018.
The update shows that while the company remains under pressure due to problems with the Nigerian authorities, its performance in this market remains strong.
Service revenue in Nigeria increased by 17.4% year-over-year, with a 52% increase in data revenue.
However, the company’s results also note that its digital revenue in the Nigerian market declined by 28.5%.
MTN attributed this decline to its “continued optimisation” of the company’s value-added services (VAS) business.
“We completed the final element of this optimisation, suspending auto-renewal of subscriptions, in mid-September which means that digital revenue will continue to be impacted by lower VAS revenue in the fourth quarter, after which we expect it to stabilise,” the company stated.
The term value-added services refers to platforms including MTN Music+ and Comedy+, which function identically to WASP services from a consumer perspective – charging a subscription fee in exchange for access to a selection of content.
While users can subscribe to these services and pay a monthly fee for the content supplied, fraudulent subscriptions to these platforms are rife.
MyBroadband has investigated the prevalence of fraudulent WASP subscriptions to MTN content services locally, finding that many MTN customers were subscribed to WASP services without their knowledge.
MTN customers also reported that the four separate USSD strings for MTN content services and the lack of call centre support make it extremely difficult to cancel these subscriptions or receive a refund.