MTN Group has released its third quarter report for the period ended September 30, 2013, which showed a decline in its voice telephony revenue, but an increase in its data subscription revenue.
The group also announced that it recorded a total of 203.8 million subscribers within the same period, across 22 countries in Africa and Middle East, with Nigeria alone recording 55.6 million subscribers, making it the country with the highest subscriber number among the 22 countries in Africa and Middle East, where MTN has presence.
Commenting on the report, MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, said although during the quarter the group continued to focus on segmented competitive voice and data tariffs and improving network quality to cater for increased traffic, its data and mobile money remained a key focus for the group, even as it suffered pressure from traditional voice revenue.
According to him, “Data revenue for the group increased by 34.7 per cent year on year (yoy), contributing 14.1 per cent to total revenue while mobile money subscribers increased 10.7 per cent to 13.4 million across 13 operations.”
Dabengwa further said, “The third quarter has been characterised by lower than anticipated subscriber growth following ongoing price competition and subscriber registration requirements across a number of markets. Subscriber growth was limited to 1.1per cent quarter on quarter (QoQ) mainly impacted by disconnections in Nigeria related to registration requirements, slower than expected subscriber growth in South Africa, as well as slower subscriber growth in Iran."
According to the report, MTN Nigeria delivered a satisfactory performance, maintaining market share in a highly competitive market. Subscribers grew marginally to 55.6 million. This was impacted by the mandatory SIM registration deadline in July 2013.
These factors will continue to impact net additions for the remaining part of the year. Dabengwa said the key focus during the quarter was on improving network quality and introducing more value added services to customers. He added that there had been a significant improvement in network quality with 812 2G and 497 3G sites added in the quarter.
"The quality and capacity of the network now meet regulatory Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), allowing MTN to implement promotional products and services. Segmented product offerings remain a focus as price competition persists."
The report also showed that MTN South Africa had some progress after a challenging first half, but insisted that conditions may remain challenging for the remaining part of 2013. According to the report, the South African operation added 233,000 subscribers bringing the total of subscribers to 25.2 million at the end of the quarter.
This was attributable to more competitive product offerings and focused marketing campaigns, the report said, adding that the prepaid segment grew its subscriber base marginally, gaining some traction through its revised MTN Zone offering and the launch of a competitive international calling campaign.
The report said MTN Ghana performed well in a competitive environment maintaining market share, and QoQ subscribers increased by 1.4 per cent to 12.8 million subscribers. Net additions in the quarter were impacted by a clean-up of the subscriber base. Local currency data revenue increased 67.3 per cent YoY and contributed 8.3 per cent of total revenue and supported the continued double-digit growth in reported revenues.
MTN Cameroun delivered encouraging performance, increasing its subscriber base 7.0 per cent to 8.2 million subscribers and maintaining market share, the report said.