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MTN Uganda invests $26m in network buildout

MTN Uganda CEO, Sylvia Mulinge.
MTN Uganda CEO, Sylvia Mulinge.

MTN Uganda has invested a total of $26 million (Ush95.4bn) in modernising its network, says the telco.

The mobile operator released results for the quarter ended March yesterday, saying its investment has been focused on 4G expansion, fibre network roll-out and infrastructure modernisation.

MTN Uganda says its 4G population coverage has significantly increased to 80.7% (up from 65.1% in Q1 2022), driving better connectivity for customers.

“We are also investing in our network in preparation for 5G to address our customers’ requirements and support sustained growth. In line with our 5G transition, MTN Uganda launched a partnership with Huawei Technologies to align our infrastructure towards a cloud-native 5G capable core network,” said MTN Uganda CEO, Sylvia Mulinge.

This initiative, Mulinge said: “Will enable a future-oriented network with greater service agility, innovation for both consumer and industrial verticals, and improved operational efficiency.”

In the current reporting period, MTN Uganda service revenue grew by 15.8%, supported by a strong recovery in our voice revenues and double digit growth in our data and fintech revenues.

“Our subscriber base grew by 11.6% to 17.8 million with increased customer engagement and continued customisation of our value proposition,” said Mulinge.

MTN met all key metrics in the quarter, growing active data subscribers by 25% to 6.7 million, active fintech subscribers increased by 14% to 10.9 million, data revenue surged 25.7% to Ush 145.3 billion, while fintech revenue ballooned by 20.7% to Ush 174.8 billion.

Mulinge commented: “MTN Uganda recorded a good start to the year with a solid Q1 performance, tracking positively against our medium-term targets with a solid revenue performance and margin expansion.

“This was delivered through disciplined execution of our strategy and incremental improvements in the trading environment with a relatively stable currency, coupled with subsiding, albeit high, inflation.”

Turning to the telco’s golden goose, Mobile Money (MoMo), Mulinge said: “We continued to promote digital and financial inclusion by driving cashless transactions through our MoMo payments platform.”

As a result, she added: “Our merchants have grown two-fold to 268 000 active merchants with a notable increase in transaction value by 35.5%.”

According to Mulinge, the expansion of merchants enabled a 26.5% increase in the number of transactions on the platform to 753 million and transaction value growth of 35.5% to Ush 28.5 trillion.

“We also partnered with fintech industry stakeholders in the ‘Beera Steady-Be Better’ campaign to provide education and resources on best practices for securing digital financial transactions, as financial fraud and information security become a centre of interest, both locally and globally.”

In the quarter, the fintech contribution to service revenue increased to 28.1% (up from 27% in Q1 2022).

MTN Group recently pledged to deepen investments in Uganda when the telco’s leadership met with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on the sidelines of his recent two-day state visit to South Africa.

Yesterday, Mulinge said future focus will be to sustain the pace of growth by increasing investment in the network ‘to improve user experience, ensuring operational efficiency with attention to costs, and creating solutions for customers to preserve market share’.

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