MTN@20: 6 major happenings in the life of Nigeria’s largest telco in the last few years

Kogi State government shuts Down MTN Facilities over Tax Backlog

MTN Nigeria is celebrating its 20th year of operation in the country. Although it has seen many ups and downs over the past years, the telecom giant has led the growth of the industry to become the biggest and most popular mobile operator in the country.

The company has enjoyed a good run since it commenced its Nigerian operation back in 2001. It has accomplished impressive feats and weathered some storms along the way.

With over 68 million subscribers, MTN Nigeria provides call, data, and mobile money services to millions of Nigerians through 15 service centres, 144 Connect Stores, and 247 Connect Points located in every state of the country.

To celebrate its 20th anniversary the company has been giving out free data and airtime to its teeming subscribers. But beyond that, here’s a recap of 5 key MTN facts/moments you may have missed in the past years.

MTN Nigeria listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange

MTN listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange is perhaps the biggest moment in the company’s history in the country.

As part of the 2016 agreement with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to settle a $1 billion fine, MTN Nigeria finally listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a stock listing of $6 billion.

Although MTN initially registered 20.4 billion ordinary units of shares with the SEC, upon listing, the company opted for a “listing by introduction” which only allows existing investors to sell their own shares to others.

MTN@20: Top 6 interesting facts about Nigeria’s largest telecom provider
MTN Nigeria now has a market cap of N3.42 trillion

Since listing, the company has become one of the most capitalised companies on the NSE with a market value of N3.42 trillion as of August 9, 2021.

MTN Nigeria has over 68M Subscribers

MTN Nigeria is undoubtedly the largest telecom in Nigeria. Despite the effects of the pandemic and NCC ban on sim registration, the telco still has the highest number of telecom subscribers in the country.

It boasts of about 39.28% of the total telecom subscribers in the country. According to NCC statistics for October, the telco currently has a total of 73.57 million active subscribers, 22.9 million more than its closest rival, Airtel.

However, the company reported a lower subscriber base of 68.9 million, during the first half of the year after losing 7.6 million subscribers due to regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activation.

MTN wants to sell 14% stake in its Nigerian business

MTN Nigeria is a subsidiary of the MTN Group, a telecommunications group operating in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East.

MTN@20: Top 6 interesting facts about Nigeria’s largest telecom provider
MTN now has over 68M active subscribers

75.81% of the telco’s Nigerian branch is owned by MTN Group, 18.7% by Nigerian shareholders through special purpose vehicles, 2.78% by Mobile Telephone Networks NIC B.V, and 1.76% by Public Investment Corporation SOC Limited.

Earlier this year, the telco’s parent company revealed that it is selling 14% of its shares in its Nigerian business to increase ownership of the company by more Nigerian retail and institutional investors.

The sale will be an equity shelf programme subject to market conditions over the medium term. Once completed, MTN will still hold the majority but its shares in the company will fall to 61.81%.

MTN Nigeria’s half-year revenue hits N790bn

MTN’s half-year report shows a significant boom in revenue over the years. This year, the telco reported a half-year revenue of N790 billion, this is up a whopping 82.8% from the 432.2 billion raked in during the same period in 2017.

This was despite its revenue base being hit hard in 2019 due to the N330 billion fine paid to NCC and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic last year.

MTN is first telco to test 5G in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria is the first telco in the country to kickstart plans to launch 5G internet connectivity. In 2019, the telco hosted a live 5G demo similar to the demo in South Africa attaining a speed of 20 Gigabytes per second with less than 5 minutes latency.

This comes after the telco announced plans to begin commercial deployment of 5G technology in Nigeria before 2020.

Although MTN has not been able to launch its 5G service in the country, its 4G network now covers 65.1% of the population, up from 60.1% in December 2020.

The company has also earmarked N600 billion ($1.5 billion) to build more infrastructure over the next three years. With the increased investment in infrastructure Nigeria, like South Africa, could soon witness 5G deployment

MTN Nigeria has a new CEO

MTN Nigeria got a new Chief Executive Officer on March 1 this year. The appointment of Karl Toriola as the new CEO was announced sometime last year.

He took over from Ferdi Moolman who was appointed after NCC fined the telco $5.2 billion in 2015. Karl Toriola, the newly-appointed CEO, joined MTN Nigeria in 2006 as Chief Technical Officer. 

MTN@20: Top 6 interesting facts about Nigeria’s largest telecom provider
Karl Toriola, CEO of MTN Nigeria

In Summary

Although MTN currently operates in about 21 countries globally, Nigeria still remains one of its biggest and high revenue markets.

Its 20th year in the country marks a milestone the company says will be commemorated with the commissioning of an ultra-modern head office in Nigeria to be powered by renewable energy.

Kudos to them!

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