MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) reported a 4.0% increase in mobile subscribers to 77.1 million, with 1.5 million new subscribers added in H1 2023.
Active data users rose by 11.5% to 41.0 million, indicating a surge in data consumption in the period under review.
MTN Nigeria’s Mobile Money (MoMo PSB) service also experienced growth, with 1.1 million new wallets created during the first half of the year to bring the total to 3.1 million.
Despite these positive indicators, the company faced a decline in profit before tax (PBT) of 25.4% to N200.4 billion. However, it is essential to consider that this decline was partially influenced by an unrealized foreign exchange (forex) loss, and the adjusted PBT showed a 17.6% increase to N331.8 billion.
Service revenue rose by 21.6% to N1.2 trillion while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 20.6% to N614.5 billion.
On the flip side, the EBITDA margin slightly declined by 0.6% to 53.0%. Capital expenditure (capex) also experienced a decrease of 14.4% to N266.8 billion.
Despite the challenges, MTN Nigeria maintained its interim dividend of N5.60 kobo per share from the prior year.
Commenting on the company’s performance, MTN Nigeria CEO, Karl Toriola said “The operating conditions in the first half of 2023 remained challenging with energy, food, and general inflation at elevated levels. This was due to the ongoing adverse global macroeconomic and geopolitical environment, the cash shortages experienced in Q1, forex volatility and availability and supply chain uncertainties witnessed during the period.
“As a result, the inflation rate in Nigeria rose to an 18-year high of 22.8% in June 2023, representing the sixth consecutive month-on-month increase in 2023, with an average of 22.2% in H1. To rein in inflation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) continued its monetary policy tightening, increasing the monetary policy rate by 2pp to 18.5% in H1, and a further 0.25pp increase in July.
“Following the inauguration of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in May 2023, swift reforms were implemented to remove the fuel subsidy and liberalise foreign exchange management, to bolster investor confidence and drive growth and investment in Nigeria. These policy reforms are expected to be positive for the economy in the medium to long term.”
“However, in the short term, they have created additional financial burdens on consumers and businesses, and these will be fully reflected in the pressures on our margins in H2. As a result, the Federal Government has declared a state of emergency to tackle rising food prices and shortages and cushion the effect on consumers. This is supported by further reforms aimed at creating an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
“We are pleased with the robust commercial and financial performance in H1, delivered against this challenging backdrop. As we navigate these macro headwinds, we continue to invest in our business to further improve the quality of our offering, strengthen our commercial operations and focus on expense efficiencies and disciplined capital allocation to support earnings and cash flow generation.
“To this end, in May, we leased 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum covering 19 states from NTEL for a 2-year period to enhance coverage and capacity, a significant milestone in the execution of our Ambition 2025 strategy.”
Nigeria’s 5G Network Subscriptions Soar to Half a Million, Broadband Penetration at 47.01%
The Executive Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, revealed that Nigeria’s Fifth Generation (5G) network subscriptions have surpassed half a million users.
Broadband penetration has surged to 47.01% as of July 2023, marking a significant leap in the country’s telecommunications landscape.
Speaking from Kano, Prof. Danbatta highlighted the remarkable achievements of the telecoms industry since 2015. In July, he reported that 5G subscriptions had surged to over 60,000 in the nation.
Also, he emphasized the nation’s ambitious goals, aiming to achieve 50% broadband penetration by the close of 2023 and a remarkable 70% broadband penetration by the conclusion of 2025.
In a statement, Prof. Danbatta stated, “Moreover, the telecommunications sector has undergone a substantial transformation, with its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growing from 8% in 2015 to an impressive 16% quarterly as of the second quarter of 2023, signifying its growing significance to the Nigerian economy.”
He further elaborated, “Furthermore, the authorization of additional telecommunications companies to operate within Nigeria’s telecoms sector has led to a remarkable upsurge in investments. In 2015, the sector attracted $38 billion in investments, a figure that has now soared to an astonishing $75 billion and continues to rise daily. Notably, the NCC’s sale of 5G C-Band Spectrum has generated over $847.8 million in revenue for the Federal Government.”
In related news, the Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, Bosun Tijani, emphasized Nigeria’s commitment to bolstering telecommunication connectivity in unserved and underserved communities.
Minister Tijani stressed that connectivity serves as a catalyst for progress and highlighted the nation’s eagerness to establish partnerships aimed at bridging the digital divide.
Nigerian Communications Commission Reports Remarkable Growth in Telecom Sector
Prof. Umar Danbatta, the Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has revealed impressive figures showcasing the robust growth of telecom investments in the country.
During a recent media interaction held in Kano on Saturday, Danbatta disclosed that the telecom investment inflow in Nigeria had surged from $38 billion to an astounding $77 billion by the second quarter of 2023.
Also, he highlighted that the telecommunications sector had contributed 16 percent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) during the same period.
Danbatta attributed this growth to a combination of factors, primarily “thorough sustained regulatory excellence and operational efficiency by the commission.”
Since taking office as the EVC of NCC in 2015, he noted that the sector’s contribution to GDP had more than doubled, from around eight percent to the current 16 percent.
In addition to this, Danbatta underscored the industry’s achievements, stating, “We have witnessed explosive growth, improved regulatory standards, and digital innovation that have generated global recognition.”
He further revealed significant milestones in telecommunications usage, with 218.9 million telephone users, 159.5 million internet subscribers, and 88.7 million broadband users in Nigeria within the reviewed period.
However, Danbatta acknowledged that several challenges still hampered the full potential of broadband deployment in the country. These challenges include issues related to the right of way, fiber cuts, high capital requirements for deployment, multiple taxations, and complex regulations.
Nevertheless, Danbatta assured stakeholders that the NCC was committed to addressing these obstacles and navigating through regulatory complexities, digital divide, and literacy issues.
As part of their initiatives to enhance communication and emergency response, the NCC announced plans to establish emergency communication centers in all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
Furthermore, the commission had increased research grants for universities from N20 million to N30 million, benefitting three universities thus far.
Danbatta explained that the NCC aimed to provide accessible and affordable telecom services as an enabler for the country’s economic advancement.
However, he also highlighted some ongoing challenges, such as the wilful destruction of NCC facilities and the burden of numerous taxes imposed on telecommunications companies.
Despite these challenges, the NCC remains committed to engaging with the media industry and the public to ensure transparency and to keep everyone informed about its activities.
Nigeria’s Largest Telecom Operator, MTN, Enhances Broadband Reach with 10MHz Spectrum Approval
MTN, Nigeria’s leading telecom operator, has received approval for an additional 10MHz spectrum allocation within the 2.6GHz spectrum band.
This development is poised to significantly bolster broadband coverage across all 36 states of the federation, including the Federal Capital Territory.
Karl Toriola, Chief Executive Officer of MTN Nigeria, said, “This additional spectrum will empower us to uphold our commitment to delivering high-quality services to our valued customers while actively supporting the Federal Government’s agenda to expand broadband access nationwide.”
This valuable spectrum allocation was acquired from OpenSkys Services Limited, a reputable indigenous Nigerian telecommunications company licensed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide telecommunication services on the 450MHz frequency band.
The 2.6GHz spectrum band is designated for the deployment of terrestrial mobile broadband services.
According to a report by the GSMA, this spectrum band serves as an ideal complement to the 700MHz-800MHz spectrum bands, forming a formidable combination capable of delivering cost-effective nationwide mobile broadband coverage, encompassing both rural and urban areas.
As of December 2022, broadband penetration in Nigeria stood at 47.36 percent. The Federal Government of Nigeria has set a target of achieving 70 percent broadband penetration by 2025. MTN Nigeria’s acquisition of this broadband spectrum allocation is poised to equip the ICT giant with the capabilities required to offer enhanced broadband services to meet the surging demand for widespread and uniform mobile broadband services nationwide.
In the words of Karl Toriola, “This additional spectrum will empower us to uphold our commitment to delivering high-quality services to our valued customers while actively supporting the Federal Government’s agenda to expand broadband access nationwide.”
MTN believes that the integration of this spectrum allocation will lead to a significant enhancement in the customer experience, aligning perfectly with their dedication to delivering exceptional services.
Also, this acquired spectrum will equip the telecommunications operator with the tools needed to deploy advanced broadband technologies, thereby contributing to the realization of Nigeria’s broadband objectives.
A report by the GSMA underscores the pivotal role of broadband penetration, particularly in developing countries, in driving an increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This highlights the urgent need for continuous development and investment in broadband infrastructure, exemplified by the inclusion of the 2.6GHz spectrum band.
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