Nigeria remains MTN's largest market despite persistent troubles, hits 56 million subscribers

Despite frequent challenges, Nigeria remains MTN's largest market in Africa hitting 56 million subscribers and an increasing double-digit growth in service revenue.

  • Despite frequent challenges, Nigeria remains MTN's largest market with 56 million subscribers as at September 2018.

The Nigerian unit of the MTN Group Ltd. remains the firm's largest market in Africa despite persistence challenges with an increasing double-digit growth in service revenue by 17.4% year-on-year.

According to the third-quarter financial report released on Monday, October 29, 2018, the strong performance was led by a 52.5% increase in data revenue and 21.5% increase in outgoing voice revenue.

This means that within the last 9 months, more people used subscribed to MTN data plan and over 21% revenue was reported from its outgoing call to other networks.

Rob Shuter, MTN Group president and CEO, while commenting on the report, said, “...the group benefited from the strong performance of operations in Nigeria and Ghana, while some operations in our West and Central Africa (WECA) region remained under pressure.

“.... MTN Nigeria’s plans to list have been challenged by the recent Central Bank of Nigeria and Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria matters, however, MTN remains committed to the listing in Nigeria and work continues in this regard. In the quarter, the group engaged extensively with authorities in Nigeria to deal with the matters they raised.”

Also in the report, MTN Nigeria active data subscribers up by 15.1% to 17.2 million quarter-on-quarter while its mobile money customers, up 12.4% QoQ to 2.5 million.

“The EBITDA margin expanded to 43,2% in the first nine months of the year, up 4,7 percentage points from end September 2017, driven by the strong growth in revenue, mix of revenue and further cost optimisation efforts,” the report stated.

On the flip side, Its digital revenue declined by 28.5% following the continued optimisation of its value-added services (VAS) business.

MTN, Africa's largest telecoms firm is currently enmeshed in a $10.1 billion dispute with the Nigerian authorities.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) alleged improper dividend repatriations by MTN Nigeria between 2007 and 2015 of $8.1 billion while the Attorney General of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (AGF) alleged unpaid taxes on foreign payments and imports of approximately $2.0 billion.

The company continues to deny these allegations and claims and filed for injunctive relief at a Nigerian court.

Both parties have also agreed to resolve the issues amicably but the case will be heard tomorrow, October 30, 2018, in Lagos.

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