August 9, 2018—MTN Group, the South African-based telecom multinational, has released interim first half results showing improved revenues up by 10.2%, with Uganda being a major contributor to that growth chalking up revenues of nearly $200 million between January and June 2018.
Rob Shuter, the Group CEO said in Johannesburg on Wednesday, “MTN had an encouraging first half of 2018, with an acceleration in the second quarter, supported by an improved operational performance across many markets. This was led by Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda.”
He said, “Service revenue growth increased by 10.2%, driven by robust voice revenue growth and the continued expansion of data and digital revenue. This in turn was supported by a 2.8% increase in subscriber numbers, continued network rollout, increasing 3G and 4G population coverage and improving customer service.”
According to the results, MTN Uganda’s revenue expanded by 8.8% to UGX734.4 billion (just short of $200 million) on account of improved data revenue and mobile money revenue exceeding expectations.
MTN Uganda CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte said in Kampala, “MTN is well positioned to deliver growth in the sector despite the shake ups experienced in the market recently that were occasioned by the newly introduced Excise Duty tax regimes on OTT and Mobile Money especially. Our half year results notwithstanding, I see MTN ending the year on a good note.”
Starting out in 1994, MTN Group has become a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East. MTN Uganda was launched in 1998 and is now the leading communications operator in Uganda, offering mobile and fixed telecom, mobile money services and Internet Service Provisioning. By the end of June this year, total subscribers topped 10.5 million.
According to the results, growth in mobile money revenue exceeded expectations and to date the number of customers increased to 5.3 million. Mobile money subscribers now make up more than half the total subscriber base of 10.5 million, which declined slightly by 1.8%. The decline was as a result of the recent introduction of guidelines for the sale and replacement of SIM cards by the regulator, Uganda Communications Commission, between March and May 2018. Nevertheless, the number of active data subscribers rose to 1.8 million, helping lift data revenue by 17.8%.
Vanhelleputte said, “MTN will continue to innovate and explore in the area of digital services and enhance our offering in mobile money to position it as the immediate solution to money transfer.”
“Expect increased engagement with our customer care service to enhance the experience. We intend to communicate more on all the work we are doing especially in the communities as CSR to expand focus beyond our core mandate,” he said.
Shuter cited opportunities in the Sub-Saharan markets and Middle East with the existing demographics as a key driver, characterized by growing populations and the low internet and digital penetration as potential areas to tap in, all falling within MTN’s strategy and mandate.
At the end of June 2018, MTN recorded 223.4 million subscribers with 24.1 million active mobile money users and 71.2 million active data users across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.