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Data, fintech, digital services lift MTN Nigeria in Q3

By , Senior news journalist
Nigeria , 29 Oct 2021
Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO.
Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO.

MTN Nigeria’s data, fintech and digital services swelled in the third quarter (Q3), helping the telco cement its market position in Africa’s most populous nation.

MTN, which has been growing alternative sources of revenue outside voice, maintained an accelerated growth trajectory, with massive adoption of its data, fintech and digital services in the nine months ended September.

Nigeria is Johannesburg-headquartered MTN’s most profitable and biggest market out of the 21 countries it has a footprint.

In the nine months to September, MTN added 2.5 million active data users to reach 33.2 million, and data revenue rose by 51.5%.

Fintech revenue grew by 55.2%, as customers continued to increase their use of the telco’s broader fintech services. Similarly, digital revenue surged by 56%, as the active user base grew and penetration of MTN digital products deepened.

The telco says the active user base for digital services rose by 295.6% to 5.8 million, led by Ayoba – MTN’s instant messaging platform – with approximately 2.9 million active users.

MTN’s enterprise business also followed other segments with a positive performance, which was underpinned by an increased user base and the uptake of the telco’s enhanced services.

Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO, comments: “The resilience we are building in the business is reflected in our performance, demonstrating our ability to achieve continued growth despite the ongoing impact of SIM registration and activation restrictions on subscriber growth. While our overall subscriber numbers have continued to decline over the last quarter, this has been at a reduced rate, and we have seen our data subscriber numbers return to growth, increasing by 2.5 million.

“We expect the decline in the overall subscriber base to bottom out and return to positive net additions in Q4 2021, as we progressively ramp up our SIM registration and activation infrastructure, while adopting and aligning with the new regulations.

“Overall, service revenue continues to grow, increasing by 23.7%, ahead of the rate of inflation and supported by voice revenue growth of 10.6% and accelerated data revenue growth of 51.5%.”

Addressing financial metrics, Toriola says, in Q3, service revenue was up by 23.7% and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) grew by 27.4%.

The EBITDA margin improved by 1.6 percentage points to 52.6%, while capital expenditure was up by 34.4% to N261.1 billion (up 27.9% to N166.5 billion, excluding the right of use assets).

Earnings per share were up 52.7% to N10.8 kobo.

Looking ahead, Toriola says, in the remainder of the year, MTN will build on the momentum from Q3 to deliver its service revenue growth target.

“We remain focused on accelerating the expansion of our 4G coverage and rural connectivity programme, while providing home broadband. Our network investments help us accelerate the growth of our platform businesses to unlock their full value. In addition, we will continue to sustain our expense efficiency programme to strengthen our financial position and support margins. At the same time, we strive to minimise the impact of foreign exchange availability on the business.”

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