MTN’s 2021 results in five numbers

With the just released earnings for the year ended December 31, 2021, MTN recorded a successful business year across its service revenue, active data usage, fintech subscription, among others.

“2021 was a significant year for our company. We commemorated our 20th anniversary with a celebration of our customers and all the stakeholder relationships that enabled our journey. We also made good progress towards our Ambition 2025 objectives, demonstrating the strength and resilience of the business,” Karl Toriola, MTN Nigeria CEO, said.


MTNN reported turnover of N1.7 trillion for full-year 2021, a milestone that will help firm up its status as Nigeria’s biggest listed company by revenue. This new height was obtained after the number of its active data users surged by 1.7 million to 34.3 million, helping income from data sales increase by 55.3 percent.

“Driven by the strong operational performance, we delivered growth across all revenue lines, demonstrating the underlying strength and momentum of the business. Service revenue grew by 23.3 percent, exceeding our mid-teen target, driven mainly by growth in voice, data and fintech service revenue lines,” the company said.

Similarly, digital revenue grew by 61.2 percent as the active user base grew and penetration of digital products deepened as digital adoption continues to accelerate due to customers using more digital products and services, a trend accelerated by COVID-19. The active user base rose by 162.1 percent to 7.5 million, led by Ayoba – the network’s instant messaging platform – with approximately 3.8 million active users, up 172.9 percent.


The telco recorded a sustained increase in the demand for data, which extended beyond the usage spikes seen during COVID-19 lockdowns. This drove its acceleration of capex investment. As a result, capex in the period was up by 36.7 percent to N408.3 billion, as it ramped up investment in the network to capture growth through service quality leadership and aggressive coverage expansion, focusing on the 4G network.

According to the company, it deployed 9,336 4G sites representing approximately 75 percent of the total sites deployed during the period, reflecting solid data revenue growth.


Active data subscribers rose by 5.3 percent year-on-year to 34.3 million. This was a result of a continuous drive in data conversion from existing subscriber base. To enable this, the telco enhanced connectivity infrastructure with the acquisition of an additional 800 megahertz (MHz) spectrum and the accelerated rollout of 4G network, which now covers more than 70 percent of the population.

Following the successful acquisition of a 100MHz spectrum licence in the 3.5 gigahertz (GHz) band, which will roll out 5G services, at the auction held in December 2021. 5G provides the foundation on which future network performance will be built.

“Our successful bid presents an exciting opportunity to be at the forefront of delivering technological advancements to as many Nigerians as possible. Also, our return to positive subscriber net additions in the fourth quarter establishes a solid basis for growth in 2022 as we ramp up gross connections. We plan to connect approximately 2000 new (rural) communities in 2022,” Toriola said.

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In the just concluded business year, the telco fintech business gained traction with approximately 770,000 registered mobile money (MoMo) agents and active users grew to 9.4 million. According to the company, this provides a solid foundation on which to launch the MoMo Payment Service Bank (PSB), for which it has received an Approval in Principle.

“We expanded our MoMo agent network, through our one distribution strategy, with the addition of over 374,000 registered agents bringing the total number to approximately 770,000 up 94.8 percent. As a result, transaction volume rose by 167.0 percent to 137.5 million from an active user base of 9.4 million, up 102.0 percent,” the company stated.

The MoMo PSB will provide a platform to drive digital and financial inclusion in Nigeria. In recognition of the company’s progress in the fintech space, it received a $500,000 grant from the African Development Bank to fund research on financial inclusion for women.


Data revenue rose by 55.3 percent, maintaining an accelerated growth trajectory in Q4, owing to the acceleration of the expansion of 4G coverage, enhancing the quality and capacity of the network to support increasing data traffic, as well as growing active data users.

Also, average megabyte (MB) per user rose by 62.7 percent, enabling overall data traffic growth of 85.3 percent. Smartphone penetration on the network grew by 4.0 point to point (PP) to 50 percent. The operator’s 4G network now covers 70.3 percent of the population, up from 60.1 percent in December 2020. Fintech revenue rose by 57.3 percent due to sustained growth in the use of Xtratime products and broader fintech services by its customers.

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