MTN Group gets 158.59 million subscribers by September 2011

The MTN Group, Africa’s leading mobile telecom network, has announced that it had 158.59 million customers across all its 22 operations at the end of the third quarter of this year, September 2011.

The figure represents a 4.1% increase over that of the second quarter, which stood at 152.3 million at the end of June, 2011.

MTN has successfully maintained market share in most of its markets, including Ghana where it posted almost 9.9 million subscribers at the end of September, 2011, representing some 48.4% market share.

“Ghana continued to show good growth and increased its subscriber base by 3.4% to more than 9.89 million, maintaining its leadership position,” the report said.

Ghana contributed 14.17% of subscribers to the WECA Group.

MTN Ghana CEO, Michael Ikpoki predicted earlier this month the company will cross 10 million subscribers by the close of the month, which is just three days to go.

It is important to mention early that average revenue per user (ARPU) in Ghana in dollar terms dropped by one per cent from $7 to $6.9 a month due to cedi depreciation, but remained stable in cedi terms, with stable effective tariffs and average outgoing minutes on the network.

West and Central Africa (WECA), where Ghana belongs to contributed 44% (69,779,600) of subscribers to the group’s total, which is the highest in the group, but indicates a marginal one per cent drop from 45% in June 2011.

South and East Africa (SEA) region contributed 23%, one per cent higher than the 22% in June, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) contributed 33%, which is the same as it did in June this year.

The WECA region increased its subscriber base by 2.8% for the quarter as a result of slower subscriber growth in Nigeria.

Subscriber registration in the WECA region had a negative impact on connections as the GSM market declined from 82.7 million to 81.84 million subscribers during the third quarter in Nigeria.

“MTN Nigeria recorded a 1.4% increase in its subscriber base to 41.11 million, contributing 59% to the region’s subscribers,” it said.
The SEA region, where the headquarters is located, increased its subscriber base by 5.1% for the quarter, and that was attributed to South Africa which increased its subscriber base by 5.9% to 20.97 million for the quarter and contributed 58% to the region’s subscribers.

Postpaid connections, both classic and hybrid, improved through both independent retail and branded channels, largely due to improved stock availability and increased channel activity.

Prepaid connections for the quarter totalled 1.036 million, almost double the rate achieved for the second quarter.

Uganda increased its subscriber base by 3.7% to 7.51 million. During the period, revenue growth became a more important priority and tariffs were successfully increased. While subscriber growth was still satisfactory, there was a marginal loss in subscriber market share.

The MENA region recorded a 5.3% increase in subscribers for the quarter.

The growth within the region was mainly attributable to Iran which increased its subscribers by 3.5% to 33.31 million. Syria increased its subscribers by 6.0% to 5.43 million as the operation adjusted to the changing conditions resulting from the political turmoil in the country.

Sudan made good progress and increased its subscriber base by 17% to 5.37 million as initiatives continued gaining traction.

MTN South Africa’s blended average revenue per user (ARPU) remained stable at R133.8 compared to 30 June 2011. No material changes were made to the value proposition and average outgoing minutes of use increased marginally for the quarter.

Nigerian ARPU in remained stable despite a marginal reduction in effective tariff. Uganda showed a small upward trend in local currency ARPU as higher effective tariffs did not reduce outgoing minutes of use following the increase in tariffs during the quarter.

Data (internet browsing and SMS) contributed 21% of traffic and six per cent of revenue, and that was pushed by increased smartphone penetration over the period.

By Samuel Nii Narku Dowuona

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