MTN has published a trading update for the quarter ended 30 September 2020, reflecting significant subscriber growth in South Africa.
MTN South Africa’s total subscribers increased by 1.9 million over the quarter to 30.9 million, comprising 24.3 million prepaid and 6.6 million postpaid customers.
This is the biggest quarterly increase in prepaid subscribers recorded by the company in nearly 18 months.
MTN said that excluding the net impact of churn due to COVID-19-related deals, the postpaid subscriber base increased by 168,100 for the quarter.
Data traffic grew by 80.% and active data users increased to 14.7 million, both of which contributed to a 16% increase in mobile data revenue.
Wholesale revenue declined by 14.4%, as despite Cell C paying for a portion of its roaming agreement, R698 million of Cell C roaming revenue remains outstanding.
“The implementation continues of Phase 2 of the Cell C roaming agreement, which commenced on 1 May 2020,” MTN said.
MTN noted that it has maintained its countrywide lead in network performance, adding that it now has more than 100 5G sites across multiple spectrum bands.
“In the quarter, MTN SA maintained its leading network experience ranking and once again achieved the highest ranking on the MyBroadband Network Quality Score in all main areas of the country,” MTN said.
“Our network resilience programme is mitigating the impacts of load shedding and load reduction in order to guarantee the best customer experience, despite a further increase in power outages in September.”
MTN acknowledged the role of ICASA’s recent temporary spectrum allocation in improving its network performance and alleviating congestion.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact lives and livelihoods across our markets, the group has demonstrated strong operational execution and resilience,” said MTN CEO Ralph Mupita.
Group service revenue grew by 11.4% to more than R43 billion, EBITDA increased by 13,9% and the group EBITDA margin widened by 1.4 percentage points to 43.3%.
“We recorded solid growth in voice revenue of 3,9%, which reflects an encouraging recovery supported by the easing of lockdown restrictions,” said Mupita.
“Data revenue grew by 31,9%, bolstered by increased demand for work-from-home services, digital entertainment as well as online education offerings.”
Fintech and digital revenue also grew by 21% and 37.5%, respectively.
MTN South Africa’s service revenue grew by 2.1% over the quarter, a year-on-year increase of 11.8%.
This revenue growth was attributed to strong performance in MTN’s prepaid, enterprise, and postpaid businesses.