MTN subscriber rate in Ghana declines due to SIM registeration

Despite making gains in subscriber numbers across its international markets, South Africa based MTN says its subscriber rate in Ghana is declining as a result of the country’s mandatory ongoing SIM card registeration exercise.

According to Cellular-News, a wireless telecoms online publisher that focuses on the mobile/cellular market, MTN says that it ended September with 134.47 million subscribers across its international markets, which is a 4% increase for the quarter from 129.21 million subscribers recorded at June 30, 2010.

In Ghana however, the report says MTN anticipated its Ghana subscriber numbers would decline. It indicated that MTN subscriber numbers declined from 8.72 million at the end of June 2010 to 8.46 million following the implementation of SIM registration on July 1, 2010.

According to the report, the impact of the new requirements initially lowered gross connections resulting in net negative subscriber growth in July and August which started to normalize in September 2010.

The National Communications Authority (NCA), the regulatory authority of the telecommunications sector in Ghana asked all mobile phone companies to register all SIM cards in the country for security reasons. The exercise will end in July 2011.

Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire however, the report said increased their subscriber bases by 4% and 3.1% to 4.68 million and 5 million, respectively as competitive and regulatory challenges persist.

The South and East African region, which contributes 22% to the group’s subscriber base, increased its subscribers by 4.9% to 30.1 million for the quarter mainly driven by growth in South Africa. South Africa which contributes 59% to the region’s subscribers increased its base by, 3.9% to 17.77 million subscribers for the quarter ended September 30, 2010. This was driven by continued growth in the prepaid segment which added 616,000 subscribers, it said.

The report said, Uganda increased its base by 5% to 6.22 million for the quarter as competition continued to intensify. The West and Central African region contributes 46% to the group’s subscribers and increased its subscribers by 3.4% to 61.38 million. Nigeria, which contributes 60% to the region’s subscribers, recorded a 5.1% increase in its subscriber base to 36.84 million.

The Middle East and North African region contributes 32% the group subscribers and increased its subscribers by 4.1% to 43 million, the report added.

MTN Ghana, however still remains the biggest mobile phone subscriber in Ghana with about 54% market share.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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