MTN Nigeria needs ‘serious customer retention and acquisition strategy’
MTN Nigeria will have to quickly develop a serious customer retention and acquisition strategy if it is to minimise the impact of a loss in subscribers, according to Alfred Zulu, senior telecom analyst at the Computer Association of Zambia.
According to its financial report ended March 31, 2022, the operator recorded a drop of 1.3 million subscribers and cited regulatory restrictions on new Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) sales and activation.
Its year-on-year subscriber base dropped by 1.9% to 70.2 million in the first quarter of 2022 from 71.5 million in the first quarter of 2021.
However, the company said its voice revenue grew by 5.8% to N258.766-billion in the first quarter of 2022 against N244.617-billion in the first quarter of 2021.
Data revenue grew year-on-year by 54% N162.731-billion in 2022 from N105.694-billion in 2021.
CEO Karl Toriola said the company complied with the directive requiring all mobile phone operators to restrict outgoing calls for subscribers whose SIM cards were not associated with National Identity Numbers (NIN).
Toriola said, “Although our mobile subscriber base declined by 1.9%, we sustained the growth trajectory from fourth quarter of 2021 as we ramp up capacity for SIM legislation and NIN enrolment. As a result, we added 1.7 million subscribers in the first quarter of 2022. As at April 25, 2022, approximately 60 million subscribers submitted their NINs, representing about 85% of our subscriber base. In addition, active data subscribers rose by 10.5% year-on-year to 35.9 million, with 1.6 million added in first quarter as we continued to drive data conversion from our network and existing subscriber base. To enable the growth in subscriber and traffic, we continued to enhance the capacity of our network. In doing do, we frontloaded our capex plan for the year, deploying capex of N162.5 billion in the period to accommodate the sustained demand for data and accelerate the rollout of our 4G network, which now covers approximately 72% of the population and accounts for 76% of data traffic.”
But Zulu believes the company will have to respond quickly to minimise impact. He said, “The loss of 1.3 million customers will really have a negative impact on the company’s market position - including its financial position in the short-term - if no measures are quickly put in place to overturn the loss. One of the measures is for the company to quickly come up with a serious customer retention and acquisition strategy in order to minimise the impact of the loss.”