South Africa’s MTN Group has released its earnings report for the third quarter of 2018. Although the report is not as detailed as we would expect, it does reveal a few interesting bits about the state of the company and its operations, especially in Nigeria.
— Bloomberg (@business) October 29, 2018
Firstly, the report reveals that MTN Group now has 225.4 million network subscribers across 21 markets. Earlier this year, the company announced it was pulling out of Cyprus and eventually followed through with that decision.
The report shows that the group subscribers rose by 2.5 million between July and September. However, the truth is, its subscriber base has actually fallen in several countries over the last 12 months. In South Africa for instance, it lost more than 500,000 subscribers. This significantly affected its earnings there.
Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria continues to remain a top performer for the group despite the challenges surrounding it. The embattled Nigerian subsidiary showed an impressive revenue growth of 17.4% over the last 12 months. MTN Nigeria’s earnings were boosted by impressive data revenue growth. While outgoing voice revenue grew by 21.5%, data revenue grew by an impressive 52.5%.
The company attributes the growth to rising data subscribers and smartphone users on its network. Nigerian data subscribers grew an impressive 15.1% to 17.2 million over the last quarter.
MTN Group will certainly be pleased with these results as it considers data an important revenue stream. In August, the company unveiled plans to spend more on improving its data infrastructure over voice. This move follows increasing disruption in voice and SMS revenues caused by services like Whatsapp and Facebook internet calls.
MTN Nigeria is also keen to shake off the challenges it’s been facing from the Nigerian government and says it will not derail from a planned IPO for the Nigerian subsidiary.
MTN Nigeria’s plans to list have been challenged by the recent Central Bank of Nigeria and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria matters, however, MTN remains committed to the listing in Nigeria and work continues in this regard.
MTN’s Ghanaian operations also impressed with its earnings. The subsidiary grew its revenue by 22.9% between July and September 2018. Data revenue also impressed with and grew 30.9% over the previous year. But unlike Nigeria, mobile money has been growing in Ghana. The feature also helped drive digital revenue by over 28%.