MTN has reported group service revenue growth of 15,9% for the quarter ended 31 March 2021.

The company, which has 276-million customers in 19 markets, grew group voice revenue by 2,6%, group data revenue by 37,3% and group fintech revenue up by 21,2%.

Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were up by 21,1%, and group EBITDA margin improved to 46,4% (from 44,2%).

MTN South Africa’s service revenue was up by 4,6%, with an EBITDA margin of 39,9% (from 39,8%), and MTN Nigeria grew service revenue by 22%, with an EBITDA margin of 54,6% (from 53,1%).

Subscribers increased by 3,2% to 276,2-million, impacted by new SIM registration regulations in Nigeria – excluding Nigeria, subscribers were up by 3,9%.

Active data subscribers increased by 13,1% to 125,6-million, while active Mobile Money (MoMo) customers increased by 25,9% to 58,7-million.

The value of MoMo transactions grew by 12,6% to $59,9-billion (up by 18,9% in constant currency).

Group president and CEO Ralph Mupita comments: “The MTN Group delivered a solid Q1 2022 performance, with double-digit service revenue growth and the expansion of EBITDA margins supported by the focused execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy.

“This was delivered in a challenging macroeconomic environment in which we continued to navigate the impacts of Covid-19. Many of our markets have also experienced rising inflation and interest rates, and pressure on consumer spending driven by recent global events impacting food and energy prices in particular.

“Monetary and fiscal positions in many of the countries we operate in were challenged during the period, resulting in currency weakness against the US dollar,” Mupita adds. “Additionally supply chains experienced disruptions, and to mitigate the risks of network rollout we accelerated capital expenditure in the quarter under review.

“In South Africa, loadshedding from the national grid has impacted network availability and we have had to increase investment in batteries ahead of the winter period when we anticipate that the risk of loadshedding may remain high.”

MTN SA recorded a healthy performance in Q1 with service revenue increasing by 4,6% in line with medium-term guidance, says Mupita. This result was supported by solid commercial and operational execution yielding service revenue growth in all the core business units: the prepaid consumer business unit (CBU) up 1,5%; the postpaid CBU up 4,4%; the enterprise business unit (EBU) up 23,1%; and the wholesale business up 1,9%.

MTN SA closed the quarter with a total of 34,5-million subscribers, an increase of 7,1%, driven by higher gross additions. The postpaid subscriber base continued to expand, with an increase of 7,4% to 7,5-million on the back of solid growth in integrated voice and data-centric plans. There was a 7% increase in prepaid subscribers to 27-million.

MTN SA’s drive to grow mobile data revenue led to data traffic growth of 46,7% and a 14,1% increase in active data users to 17,3-million. This underpinned a 14,3% increase in overall mobile data revenue.

During the quarter there was a 22,8% YoY reduction in the effective data tariff. An active prepaid data subscriber now consumes an average of 4GB of data a month, up 37% YoY, and an active postpaid data subscriber uses nearly 11,8GB per month, an increase of 20%.

The consumer postpaid business delivered a resilient performance with service revenue growth of 4,4% benefiting from data-oriented packages.

The strong growth in data revenue also supported the consumer prepaid business’ performance with service revenue up by 1,5%.

The enterprise business recorded a 23,1% increase in service revenue, driven by sustained growth in data deals, Bulk SMS and the ICT business. The core mobile business continues to gain market share, with sustained distribution channel expansion and strong products propositions.

Wholesale revenue increased by 1,9%, supported by national roaming deals with Cell C and Telkom.

The performance of the fintech business was encouraging with approximately 5-million registered MoMo users and 840 043 monthly active users by 31 March 2022, Mupita adds.

MTN SA reported EBITDA of R4,9-billion (up 3,7% YoY) with as slight increase in the EBITDA margin to 39,9% (up 0.1pp).

MTN SA secured high-demand spectrum to support the expansion of 4G and 5G services, with total permanent spectrum holdings rising from 76MHz to 176MHz and payment of R3,3-billion was made in April 2022 for mid-band spectrum. The spectrum has been allotted for a 20-year period on a technology-neutral basis.

Since the award of temporary spectrum in 2020, MTN SA has ramped up its investment to increase network coverage, improve speeds and enhance the overall customer experience. MTN SA has also invested in an expansion drive into rural and peri-urban areas and a major 5G rollout, reaching a population coverage of 15%.

Going forward, MTN is focused on accelerating growth in MTN SA and MTN Nigeria.