By Adeyemi Adepetun
Revenues from the combination of voice, data, digital, service, and Fintech operations have pushed MTN Nigeria’s first quarter (Q1) 2019 earnings increased by 149.4 per cent.
In the result issued yesterday on its Q1 performance, ending March 31, 2019, the South African-based telecommunications firm, disclosed that voice operations earned it an increase of 12.7 per cent; revenue from service 13.4 per cent; data 32.4 per cent; digital 68 per cent, and Fintech 22.9 per cent.
In particular, group service revenue rose 10 per cent led by performances in South Africa, Nigeria, and Ghana.
MTN also said its EBITDA margin increased by 11.5pp to 53.3 per cent (IAS 17: 44.2 per cent), and added 2.1 million new mobile subscribers in the period under review, pushing it users number to 60.3 million.
It further said it adopted the IFRS 16 accounting standards in line with global best practice to arrive at the results, while remaining committed to achieving medium-term targets.
Commenting on the results, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, Ferdi Moolman, said: “Our first quarter performance was in line with expectations, as service revenue remained resilient with double digit growth on the back of improvements in voice and data revenues.
“We connected a further 2.1 million people to our network, providing them access to worldwide communication services, while additional 1.7 million people are able to access the possibilities that the Internet provides. This growth is built on our focus on customer centric delivery and in particular on improved customer retention, our continuous focus on value for money propositions and further network roll-out and enhancement.
“Q1 2019 saw a significant increase in our capital expenditure programme, with focus on LTE services, where we rolled out 1,188 sites across our key focus cities. In addition, the successful transfer of our 800MHz spectrum from Visafone to MTN Nigeria will further enable improvements to network coverage and service quality.”
Moolman further said MTN made significant progress to list on The Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), following the conversion of MTN Nigeria to a public company, and the successful registration of its ordinary shares with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “We are now engaging with the NSE to complete the listing process,” he added.
According to him, the business is on a sustainable growth path with service revenue increasing by 13.4 per cent year-on-year (YoY), in line with our medium-term guidance of double-digit growth. This was led by a 32.4 per cent increase in data revenue, and a 12.7 per cent increase in voice revenue, a general slowdown in economic activities during the election period, impacted voice revenue growth.
He said growth in data revenue was supported by a 10.6 percentage point increase in smartphone penetration, improved network quality and a 9.1 per cent increase in active data subscribers to 20.4 million.
“Total subscribers increased by 3.6 per cent QoQ to 60.3 million.We recorded EBITDA margin of 53.3 per cent. On an IAS 17 basis, the margin increased to 44.2 per cent, up 2.4 percentage points YoY, driven by the growth in revenue and effective cost management.