9Mobile made N228 billion revenue in 2016 but faces a dicey future

The Central Bank Governor on Tuesday, explained for the first time why they (in conjunction with NCC) intervened in Etisalat Nigeria, now 9Mobile. According to him

“It’s important that we don’t just allow any creditor to hurt any other stakeholder. ”That was why the NCC, supported by the CBN decided to intervene,”

He also for the first time announced that Etisalat recorded a revenue of N16 billion in June this year alone.  However, a look at the annual reports of Etisalat UAE reveals how much 9 Mobile earned N228.6 in revenue in 2016 alone.

9 Mobile Revenue.

  • According to the annual report of the former parent company, Etisalat UAE, its former Nigerian subsidiary reported an annual revenue of N228.6 billion in 2016 alone.
  • It reported N2227 billion in revenue and N41.7 billion in Ebitda in 2015.
  • The company also reported an Ebitda of N33 billion for the year. Ebitda is an acronym for Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization and represents the earnings of a business after deducting overheads such as salaries, admin cost, transportation; cost of sales from revenue.
  • At N33 billion, 9 Mobile’s Ebitda margin is about 14.4%.
  • The revenue of N228 billion also results in an Anual Revenue Per User (ARPU) of roughly N11, 430.
  • This compares to MTN, which reported an annual revenue of about 47 billion rands or N1.1 trillion from its Nigerian operations in 2016 and an ARPU of N18,704.7 (using N24/R1 as exchange rate).
  • MTN however has an EBITDA margin of about N524 billion or about 50% in EBITA Margin

The future for 9 Mobile

For Etisalat, the key will be to ensure it retains its subscriber base and ensure it doesn’t drop below the 18 million subscribers it currently has. Just a year ago, it had slightly over 22 million subscribers. Also. Etisalat’s internet subscribers have also dropped from about 15.2 million subscribers in July 2016 to 12.2 million subscribers in May 2017.  See GSM data for Nigeria.

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Retaining this subscribers will require that it continues to expand its product offering especially with regards to data, which has been a major growth area for Telcos in recent times.

An Ebitda of N30 billion per annum is not enough to sustain huge investments in Capex (Etisalat spent N21 billion in Capex) let alone interest payments, which is no surprise that they fell into trouble with the consortium of banks.

Recent data from the NCC also suggest Nigeria’s teledensity at over 102% as peaked suggesting that the only way Etisalat can attract new subscribers is to continue to chip in on the existing subscribers of rival networks hoping they won’t lose either. Teledensity is defined as the number of active telephone connections per one hundred (100) inhabitants living within an area and is expressed as a percentage figure.

Slow Porting

In terms of chipping off customers from its larger competitors, 9Mobile has as expected led the pack but is not pulling in enough to dent into the competition.

Data from the National Communication commission, as at May 2017, also shows 9mobile recorded the highest number of incoming porting.

A total of 39,535 subscribers ported from one network to another in the month may, which is a 17.1% increase from 33,773 recorded in the month of April.

Out of this, a total number of 15,253 subscriber ported to Etisalat (9mobile) in the month of May, representing a 26.2% increase from the 12,087 recorded by the network in the month of April.

Long road 

9mobile in our opinion  has just started a very long journey for survival. It is confronted on so many fronts with challenges that require a lot of innovation, attraction and patience capital, if it is to survive. With the spate of innovations taking place around the world, particularly with the likes of Facebook and Google, income from voice calls will continue to trend lower. Data cost which is a new growth area will like see revenues plateau in a no distant future.

Whoever decides to invest in 9mobile will need to have the financial muscle to fight of competition on two fronts, local competitors and more nimble startups who are now attracting millions in Venture Capital funding.

On July 4th, this year, Etisalat Nigeria announced the resignation of its board and confirmed the appointment of a new board with the Deputy CBN Governor as Chairman of the board.

9Mobile (as at Etisalat Nigeria) Revenue as at December 2016.


Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

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