MTN SA subscriber base tops 29 million

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MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN logo. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - Growth in prepaid connections boosted MTN South Africa’s subscriber base by 2% for the quarter ended September 30 2015.

This is according to the group’s latest market update released on Thursday.

“MTN South Africa continued to gain momentum, increasing its subscriber base by 2% to 29.1 million for the quarter,” said the company in a statement to shareholders.

“This was mainly as a result of a 3.1% increase in the prepaid subscriber base, supported by the continued success of attractive below-the-line campaigns,” said MTN.

The company further added that billable minutes on its network increased by 41.4% year on year during the quarter.

Contract woes

But while MTN’s prepaid subscriber base spurred on growth, the company’s postpaid segment declined 2.6% to 5.2 million.

This was owing to approximately 90 000 disconnections of low-cost router SIM cards with Altech Autopage subscribers and the low availability of handsets, said MTN.

In MTN’s interim results statement released in August, the company explained that a Communication Workers Union (CWU) strike impacted on its handset supply chain.

And after the strike ended in July, MTN indicated that it is still shaking off its handset problems.

"While supply chain issues have been largely resolved, the operation continued to experience limited availability of handsets during the quarter as a result of delayed deliveries,” said the company on Thursday.

Other results pertaining to MTN’s SA market indicated that data revenue increased 40% and contributes 31.5% to total revenue, the company added 811 LTE sites during the quarter and its average revenue per user (ARPU) increased 8.8% for the period.

Nigeria drags down group

Meanwhile, the MTN Group recorded slower subscriber growth in its Africa and Middle East operation as Nigeria dragged down its performance.

Subscriber growth in the region topped just 0.9% quarter-on-quarter to hit 233 million users in MTN’s 22 markets.

MTN’s biggest market, Nigeria, experienced negative subscriber growth of 0.5% quarter-on-quarter from 62.8 million to 62.5 million.     

The operator has blamed Nigerian authorities’ disconnection of 5.1 million subscribers for regulatory reasons as a key factor for the fall.

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