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MTN Nigeria records sturdy full-year growth

By , Senior news journalist
Nigeria , 31 Jan 2022
Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO.
Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO.

Driven by a strong operational performance, MTN delivered growth across all its revenue lines in Nigeria, for the financial year ended December 2021, which it says demonstrates the underlying strength and momentum of the business.

In the year, MTN Nigeria’s service revenue grew by 23.3%, exceeding its mid-teen target, driven mainly by growth in voice, data and fintech service revenue lines, according to Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO.

Nigeria is Johannesburg-headquartered MTN’s most profitable and biggest market out of the telco’s continental footprint.

Data, fintech and accelerated digital adoption continued to anchor MTN’s performance in the year ended December.

Data revenue rose by 55.3%, as MTN continued to accelerate the expansion of its 4G coverage. MTN Nigeria’s 4G network now covers 70.3% of the population, up from 60.1% in December 2020.

Similarly, fintech revenue surged by 57.3%, due to sustained growth in the use of its Xtratime product and broader fintech services by customers.

“We expanded our MoMo agent network, through our one distribution strategy, with the addition of over 374K registered agents, bringing the total number to approximately 770K, up 94.8%. As a result, transaction volume rose by 167% to 137.5 million from an active user base of 9.4 million, up 102%,” explains Toriola.

On digital adoption, Toriola says MTN continues to accelerate its offerings, as customers use more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by COVID-19.

As a result, MTN Nigeria’s digital revenue grew by 61.2%, as the active user base grew and penetration of its digital products deepened.

“The active user base rose by 162.1% to 7.5 million, led by Ayoba – our instant messaging platform – with approximately 3.8 million active users, up 172.9%.”

Buoyed by the company’s performance in the year, MTN Nigeria’s board proposed a final dividend of N8.57 kobo per share to be paid out of distributable net income, in line with its dividend policy.

Toriola says: “This brings the total dividend for the year to N13.12 kobo per share, representing an increase of 39.6%.”

Addressing other key performance indicators in the period, Toriola says: “Operationally, our mobile subscriber base declined by 10.6% and was impacted by the regulatory restrictions on new SIM sales and activations.”

MTN’s mobile subscribers decreased by eight million to 68.5 million but returned to positive net additions in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“We are pleased to have returned to positive growth in Q4 2021, adding approximately one million subscribers as we continued to ramp up the alignment of our SIM registration and activation centres with the regulations.”

Furthermore, he says, MTN was successful in its bid to acquire a 100MHz spectrum licence in the 3.5GHz band, on which the telco will roll out 5G services, at the auction held in December 2021.

“5G provides the foundation on which future network performance will be built. Our successful bid presents an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of delivering technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible.”

On his outlook analysis, Toriola says MTN is focused on building on the platform of success laid in 2021.

“Our return to positive subscriber net additions in Q4 2021 establishes a solid basis for growth in 2022, as we ramp up gross connections through our rural connectivity drive and customer value management initiatives. As part of our rural connectivity programme, we plan to connect approximately 2 000 new communities in 2022.”

In addition, he says, MTN is seeing structurally sustained data growth. As a result, it is investing in network and information technology infrastructure, and has secured the relevant frequencies to meet the higher demand.

“This involves accelerating the expansion of our 4G coverage and providing home broadband to capture a significant share of market growth. We will commence the initial rollout of 5G services once the acquisition process is completed, to further deepen broadband penetration in Nigeria, enhance customer experience and unlock new revenue streams.”

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