MTN subscribers up to 158m

The MTN Group has reported a 4.1% increase in subscriber numbers, reaching a total of 158.59 million customers across all its 22 operations at the end of the third quarter of this year, September 2011.

MTN Group said in its quarterly report that it had successfully maintained market share in most of its markets.

The report said the subscriber bases of the three regions continue to grow at marginally different rates and as a result, when compared to June 2011, the subscriber contribution between the regions has remained relatively unchanged. South and East Africa (SEA) region contributed 23% (June 2011: 22%) of the Group’s total subscribers, while West and Central Africa (WECA) and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) contributed 44% (June 2011: 45%) and 33% (June 2011: 33%), respectively.

It said in Nigeria, MTN is engaged with the regulator, the NCC, following the recent warning on quality of service issued to telecoms operators. The company said in its report that it was engaging with the regulator on the content and consequences of the allegations.

The company noted that subscriber registration had a negative impact on connections as the GSM market declined from 82.7 million to 81.84 million subscribers during the third quarter. MTN Nigeria recorded a 1.4% increase in its subscriber base to 41,107,000, contributing 59% to the region’s subscribers.

Following the introduction of new pricing plans and segmented value proposition during August and September, net connection performance improved during the quarter, particularly in September when 459,000 net connections were recorded. The SIM registration deadline has been extended indefinitely. At the end of September 2011, 73% of the base had been registered by MTN Nigeria.

Sudan made good progress and increased its subscriber base by 17% to 5.37 million. Cameroon had a 12% increase to 5.46 million, Liberia 10% to 939,000 and Zambia 9.7% to 2.38 million.

Subscriber numbers in South Africa increased 5.9% to 20.9 million. Uganda increased its subscriber base by 3.7% to 7.51 million. In Botswana, subscriptions increased 1.9% to 1.5 million, in Rwanda they increased 2.5% to 2.86 million and in Cote d’Ivoire they increased by 5.3% to 5.94 million.

In Ghana, MTN continued to show good growth and increased its subscriber base by 3.4% to 9,894,000, maintaining its leadership position. MTN Ghana CEO Michael Ikpoki predicted earlier this month the company will pass the 10 million subscriber mark by the end of the month.

Numbers dropped slightly in Bissau, Congo-Brazzaville, Benin and Swaziland.

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