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MTN ups subscriber in Q3 by 2.5%, as smartphones on network hit 19.2m

Indication emerged yesterday that upon the ongoing troubled waters of official suspicion hitting the South African telecoms giant, MTN Nigeria, the group has reported a 2.5 per cent increase in its subscriber base to 60.5 million (QoQ) in the country.

MTN said the data traffic increased by 43.8 per cent year-on-year, benefiting from an improved data network and increased Smartphone penetration. The number of Smartphones on the network rose by 59.4 per cent to 19.2 million year-on-year basis.

However, the embattled said the reported subscriber base was negatively impacted by the exclusion from its active base of approximately 3.1 million subscribers relating to a change in subscriber accounting rules where it no longer account for subscribers whose activity was based on the receipt of a bulk SMS.

These statistics were contained in the firm’s Quarterly update for the period ended September 30, 2016.

The firm, which is currently in running battle with Nigeria’s Upper Legislative Chamber, which accused it of allegedly repatriating about $14 billion out of Nigeria, said on the upside subscriber numbers were supported mainly by reconnection through proactive engagement following their disconnection in line with regulatory requirements earlier this year.

MTN Nigeria said it continues to engage the regulatory authorities on improving the approval process for promotions, products and services following the re-instatement of regulatory services to it.

The firm said constant currency data revenue increased by 6.7 per cent and contributed 20.4 per cent to total revenue, which according it, was largely the result of a weaker macroeconomic environment negatively impacting consumers and a decline in the effective data tariff because of competition and regulatory requirements impacting out-of-bundle billing.

The telecommunications firm claimed that local currency Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) decreased by 1.4 per cent on a quarterly basis.

It further informed that the Nigerian arm reported a 1.2 per cent decline in revenue Q3 2016 year-on-year (YoY) compared to a 6.2 per cent decline in Q1 2016 (YoY) as the operation continued to deliver incremental improvements in revenue.

Besides, and at home in South Africa, the telecommunications firm reported a marginal decline in subscribers of 0.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter to 29.7 million, which was as a result of a 0.7 per cent decline in the pre-paid subscriber base to 24.5 million, largely due to churn from low revenue-generating customers.