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MTN’s data revenue up 53% on internet traffic surge

MTN’s data revenue up 53% on internet traffic surge

MTN Nigeria recorded a 53 percent year-on-year surge in data revenue in the first quarter of 2024 on increased internet usage and improved 5G adoption.

Data from the telco’s financial results revealed its data-generating-revenue segment grew to N349 billion in Q1, 2024 from N227 billion in Q1, 2023. Its voice revenue-generating segment grew marginally by 14.1 percent to N267 billion from N234 billion in the corresponding period of 2023.

MTN attributed its data revenue rise to an 8.06 percent increase in active data subscribers to 44.5 million, as it added 78,000 active users. It highlighted that its 4G network now covers 81.6 percent of the population, and 5G is now at 12.4 percent. Its smartphone penetration stands at 55.2 percent, with data usage per user growing by 28.5 percent to 10.1GB.

MTN stated that 4G accounted for 81.9 percent of its total traffic and 5G at 6.4 percent. The total subscriber base of the telco grew by 1.3 percent to 77.7 million, despite reporting a 2 million decline in active subscribers in Q1 after implementing the Nigerian Communications SIM-NIN directive.

Karl Toriola, chief executive officer of MTN, said, “During the quarter, we also continued to manage the effects on our business of the industry-wide directive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for a full barring of subscriber lines not linked to their National Identity Number (NIN) – the NIN-SIM directive.

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“This impacted the development of our user base across all of our key business units (voice, data, and fintech) in Q1 2024.”

The telco also disclosed that its voice traffic rose by 5.1 percent and data traffic by 40.6 percent. This is a result of the consistent growth in demand for data and voice, supported by its investment in network quality and coverage.

According to the NCC, Nigeria’s internet data usage surged to 753,388.77 terabytes (TB) in March 2024 from February’s 694,804.54 TB. The rise is attributed to a significant increase in 4G and 5G subscriptions, reflecting the country’s fast internet capacity.

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MTN further stated that its capital expenditure spending grew by 49.1 percent to N179.7 billion (up 84.4 percent to N78.1 billion, excluding leases). Toriola, MTN’s CEO noted that the company aims to reduce its capex (excluding leases) expenditure for the full year 2024 while aiming for capex intensity in the upper single digits.

He also re-echoed calls, by the telecoms industry, for tariff increases because of the challenging operating conditions.

He said, “Importantly, appropriate tariff increases will be necessary to support continued investment and the industry’s long-term sustainability. We are deeply engaged with the authorities, through our industry body, on tariff increase This will support our commercial interventions in our work to accelerate topline growth.”