MTN grows subscribers and revenue in South Africa

MTN published its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2021 on Thursday, showing good growth in South Africa.

Service revenue increased by 9.3%. This was driven by an increase in data revenue of 12.3%.

MTN’s financial technology revenue increased by 6.4%. and its digital revenue increased by 28.6%.

The company reported “healthy and sustained growth” in its prepaid and postpaid consumer business units, enterprise business unit, and its wholesale business.

“The 9.3% growth in service revenue exceeded our medium-term target,” MTN said.

Broken down by business unit, MTN’s revenue growth was as follows:

  • Prepaid — 4.0%
  • Postpaid — 7.3%
  • Enterprise — 14.1%
  • Wholesale — 62.4%

MTN reported increasing its subscriber base in South Africa by around 665,000 to 32.7 million.

This was driven by an increase of around 506,000 in postpaid subscribers to 7.3 million, which recovered well amid less-stringent lockdown restrictions, more data value offers, and advanced churn management.

This growth comes after MTN’s postpaid subscriber base benefited from short-term university and college deals offered to support students during the height of the Covid–19 restrictions in June 2020.

During the first half of 2021, prepaid customers in South Africa increased by about 159,000 to 25.4 million supported by growth in 4G data customers.

Across MTN Group’s operations in Africa and the Middle East, service revenue grew by 2.1% and subscribers decreased by 2.3 million.

MTN said that the decrease in subscribers was due to new industry-wide SIM registration regulations in Nigeria.

These new regulations included a ban on new SIM activations, which was lifted in April 2021.

New additions in Nigeria have since remained muted, as expected, owing to the new registration requirements.

Excluding Nigeria, MTN Group subscribers increased by 5.4 million.

MTN also reported a substantial decrease in earnings per share, which it warned shareholders about at the beginning of August.

It reported that basic earnings per share decreased by 78% to R1.48, down from R6.74 in 2020.

The earnings per share were impacted by impairment losses of 71 cents relating to MTN Yemen and derecognition losses relating to MTN Syria of approximately 262 cents.

“There was some offset arising from the gain on disposal of [Belgacom International Carrier Services], amounting to approximately 67 cents,” MTN stated.

MTN noted that earnings per share in June 2020 had included the benefit from gains amounting to approximately 341 cents on the disposal of the ATC Uganda and ATC Ghana tower associates announced in March 2020.

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MTN grows subscribers and revenue in South Africa