Africa’s largest telecommunications company MTN, still tops the African telecos chart with a subscriber base of 176 million according to results released over the weekend. MTN’s chief executive officer, Sifiso Dabengwa, speaking at the company’s announcement of half year-results as of June 2012 said that company recorded a 6.9 per cent increase in its subscriber’s base. The MTN Group has operations in 21 African countries including Nigeria with other business operations in the Middle East, particularly Iran.
Managing director, MTN South Africa, Karel Pienaar said the brand has a lot in its “arsenal” when it comes to competitive pricing and there will be new products in the second half.
The South Africa’s second-largest cellular operator, MTN, does not expect to deliver the same level of performance in the second half of the year, after bolstering revenue 9.5 per cent during the first six months.
However, the group, which has 35.5 per cent of the local market does expect good results from the local operation, despite high levels of penetration, and will be rolling out further competitive offerings.
In South Africa, where there is an estimated penetration of 133 per cent, MTN grew subscribers 6.8 per cent to 23.5 million, a gain of 1.5 million customers, which was mostly due to growth in the prepaid segment. By comparison, South Africa’s largest operator, Vodacom gained 6.1 million new subscribers in the year to March.
Turnover from the local unit, MTN’s second-largest operation after Nigeria, grew 9.5 per cent in the six months to June, as data use leapt by 50 per cent. Vodacom grew service revenue 4.4 per cent in the last full-year.
Pienaar said the unit would not be able to sustain its performance to the same level, as it is a very competitive market.
However, the group expects good results in the second half and will reach a “percentage” of its first-half figures, he said, adding that the MTN Zone has led to good growth in the prepaid segment, but the company has to be cautious about bastardising its existing base.
MTN intends adding a total of three million new subscribers to its network in South Africa during the full-year, an increase on its previous guidance of 2.9 million. In total, the group aims to gain 21.250 million new customers, a slight decline on the previous target of 21.3 million.
It sees less additions in Uganda due to SIM card registration laws, but expects 500 000 more subscribers in Iran, and 50 000 less in Syria, which is battling political unrest.
Revenue gained 17.5 per cent, which was mostly driven by strong operational performance and competitive value propositions in SA, Iran and Ghana. However, growth in Nigeria was lower than expected due to “intense competition”.
The contract segment gained 9.4 per cent to 4.2 million, driven by competitive data offerings and the continued success of hybrid packages. Data revenue gained 49 per cent and now contributes 15.949 per cent to total revenue compared to 11.649 per cent in the first half of last year.
Pienaar said data traffic has grown 30049 per cent between last July and July 2012, and MTN is now seeing 1.4 terabytes of data every month. At the end of June, there were 11.9 million data users with 4.4 million smartphones.
Airtime and subscription revenue showed good growth of 5.949 per cent, while handset revenue grew 29.149 per cent off the back of a demand for higher value phones.
According to Dabengwa the group has no intention of losing its share of value, and if the overall market value declines, it will make sure its proportion does not decline.