Nigeria’s largest telecoms network, MTN posted revenue of N385.3 billion representing a 17% increase from the N329.1 billion reported in the same period in 2020.
The double-digit growth is happening at a time when Nigerians have put the Covid-19 lockdown behind them and returned fully to work across the country. It is also happening on the back of tumultuous three months of SIM card registration bans and government mandates for all Nigerians to register to obtain their NIN and link the numbers to their SIM Cards.
MTN reported an 8% growth in Voice related revenue topping N208 billion for the period under review. Data revenue continued to lead revenue growth printing at N105.7 billion, a 42.6% growth year on year, showing heavy reliance on data by MTN’s 61.5 million internet subscribers, the highest in the country.
MTN commands the market share for internet subscriptions owning about 42% of the market. MTN also controls 40% of the Voice market share, the highest compared to any other competitor.
Commenting on the result, MTN’s CEO, Karl Toriola explained that “the effects of customer churn and the restrictions on new SIM sales and activations arising from changes in SIM registration regulations” had resulted in a decline of its subscriber base. This reduction led to a marginal drop of 71,000 in Q1 active data subscribers to 32.5 million but this did not affect growth. Rather they recorded an 86.7% increase in data traffic and a 48.5% increase in usage (MB per user) from the existing base.
Toriola explained that “the improvement in data services was supported by the completion of our acquisition and activation of an additional 800MHz spectrum” enabled the company to further increase traffic by 10% and enhance throughput by 79%.
MTN also doubled its revenue from Digital business rising to N3.7 billion during the quarter while FinTech related revenue rose 28.5% to N14.6 billion.
“Digital revenue grew by 101.0% and fintech revenue by 28.5% as customers continued to adopt more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by the pandemic. As of the end of March 2021, we had 449,100 registered MoMo agents and 4.6 million fintech customers.”
MTN also revealed it was being owed N40.3 billion by deposit money banks (DMBs) on services provided for under its USSD product. MTN did not recognize any revenue for its USSD business resulting in a flat year-on-year revenue for its enterprise business.
What next for MTN?
The GSM behemoth maintains it will continue to pursue double-digit revenue growth in 2021 through its 4G network expansion and positioning its FinTech Business for “accelerated growth” to unlock its full potential.
MTN also revealed it will continue to push for a revised commission paid to banks on its air time sales and is exploring other options of selling its airtime outside of banks.
“We will continue to sustain our expense efficiency programme to strengthen our financial position and support margins. We remain in dialogue with the DMBs on a pricing option for airtime sales commission while diversifying our airtime recharge channels to offer our subscribers more options to purchase airtime and stay connected.”