Upshoot in MTN subscriber base, despite Nigerian and Ugandan drops

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MTN grew its total subscriber base by 1% to 230.3-million over the year to end-April despite a 7% drop in Nigerian customers and 11% drop in Ugandan customers to comply with stricter registration requirements in those countries, executive chairman Phuthuma Nhleko said at the network’s annual general meeting on Wednesday.

In its home market, MTN grew subscriber numbers 7% over the year, while in Ghana it achieved 20% subscriber growth.

Reported group revenue increased by 15% in the four months to end April from the matching period last year. Revenue in rand was boosted by a 21% decline in the average exchange rate against the naira, Nhleko said.

Data contributed 24% of the total revenue in the four month period compared with 21% for the same period last year.

Regarding its potential $5.2bn fine in Nigeria for failing to identify subscribers in the government’s fight against Boko Haram militants, Nhleko said: “We continue our engagement with the Nigerian authorities and are awaiting feedback. We remain optimistic on reaching a conclusion on this matter in the short term. We will continuously monitor developments with regards to the Nigerian fine and will review the adequacy of the provision at the end of the reporting period.”

Repatriating about $1bn from its 49% owned MTN Irancell following the partial removal of sanctions has taken longer than expected.

Nhleko has doubled as chairman and CEO since the departure of Sifiso Dabengwa in November.

“The search for a new MTN Group CEO is well under way and as previously noted we hope to make an

announcement on this matter prior to the end of June 2016 at the latest,” Nhliko said at the annual general meeting.

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