MTN Ghana generates over GH¢13.3b revenue from 26.8 million subscribers in 2023 despite being declared SMP

MTN branding at a shop in Accra.

A Ghana Business News analysis of the 2023 financial report of MTN Ghana concludes that the Ghana government’s decision to declare the company a significant market power four years ago to make the telecoms sector competitive is misplaced, as that decision has failed to achieve its main objective of making the sector competitive. The decision has not compelled subscribers to switch to other telecoms providers. Instead, it has made the services of MTN in particular and telecoms services in general unnecessarily expensive, when it should have been cheaper.

The decision has also not led to improvement in services for subscribers – as customers regularly complain about poor call and data services, despite the rise in prices.

MTN however, continues to generate billions of cedis in revenue from the more than 75 per cent of the market share it has.

In 2020, the National Communications Authority (NCA) implemented some specific policies it said were to ensure a level-playing field for all network operators within the telecommunications industry in the country.

The government, through the Ministry of Communications directed the NCA to enforce the provisions of the Electronic Communications (EC) Act 2008 and the National Telecommunications Policy to address what it described as glaring disparities in market share and revenue share in the sector.

It further argued that the Policy Directive was motivated by evidence of a growing market imbalance and creation of a near monopoly in the telecoms sector.

The government said in a statement that the imbalance potentially exposed the country to the dictates of the dominant operator (MTN Ghana) and negatively impacts on competition and choice for the consumer as well as investments within the sector.

The policy, it held was aimed at ensuring proper and healthy competition among telecommunications players, secure a much better pricing policy for consumers and facilitate a sound regulatory regime.

There are currently only three major mobile telecoms companies in the country – these are MTN, AT, which is a merger of Airtel and Tigo, and Telecel, which bought Vodafone.

Despite that decision however, the biggest telecoms company in Ghana, MTN generated total revenue of GH¢13,349,471,000 in 2023, a 34.6 per cent increase from 2022, according to the company’s 2023 financial statement.

Revenue is the income that a business generates from which expenses, including taxes would be deducted.

The total revenue was generated from the company’s diverse services of voice, data, mobile money and others.

Of the country’s a little more than 30 million population, 26.8 million are connected to MTN for voice, data, mobile money and other services.

MTN also has the largest data market of 15.4 million subscribers as at December 2023.

It is working with 21 partner banks and has approximately 15.2 million active users on its Mobile Money platform, with over 282,355 active agents throughout the country.

The company says it has invested a total of GH¢4.1 billion in capital expenditure to modernize its infrastructure, enhance the IT systems and expand its network capacity and coverage across the country.

The company says it has deployed 350 2G, 353 3G, and 350 4G sites, supporting a 99.3 per cent 4G population coverage.

The CEO said in his statement in the financial report: “Voice revenue recorded a 9.0 per cent year on year growth to GH¢3.6 billion supported by our customer value management initiatives, which offer bundles and packages that meet the diverse needs of our customers. Our commitment to improving our network coverage and the quality of service, along with pricing initiatives, have been instrumental in the growth of voice. The contribution of voice to total service revenue declined from 33.1 per cent to 26.8 per cent, as customer behaviour evolves in line with global trends.”

MTN’s Mobile Money revenue was GH¢2.9 billion.

After paying income tax amounting to GH¢1.6 billion the company made a profit after tax of GH¢3.9 billion in 2023 – that is almost GH¢4 billion.

The directors also resolved and recommended a final dividend of GH¢0.175 per share amounting to a total of GH¢2,316,330,633.75 for the financial year 2023.

An amount of GH¢6,590,982.00 was proposed as Non-Executive Directors’ fees subject to overruns in the event of the appointment of additional Non-Executive Directors and ad-hoc Committee meetings that may be required in the course of the year.

The SIM re-registration exercise however affected MTN’s customer base as the company blocked 5.4 million SIMs that were not registered with the Ghana card as at May 3, 2023. However, it says, 600,000 SIMs of the blocked cohort have been re-registered, bringing the total number of outstanding disconnected SIMs to 4.8 million as at the end of December 2023.

As a result of that, MTN’s subscriber base decreased by 6.3 per cent to 26.8 million.

By Emmanuel K Dogbevi
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