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MTN Group has released its quarterly update for the period ended 30 September 2020, highlighting that the total number of subscribers across its 21 markets of operation totaled 273.4 million, a net increase of 12 million, as service revenue increased by 11.4% on an annualized basis.

The group reached a significant milestone by surpassing 40 million MTN Mobile Money users, after the addition of 3.5 million in the quarter to 41.8 million. The group also reported growth of 21% in fintech revenue and 37.5 in digital revenue, driven by the increased adoption and usage of digital offerings. The mobile operator noted too that group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) margin also increased to 43.3% (from 41.9%).

In the quarter, MTN added 5.3 million active data users to reach 107 million. To meet the increase in data and digital usage, MTN had focused its investment on network capacity and resilience and modernizing its IT systems, spending ZAR 16 billion in the year to date. 

The performance delivered by the MENA region was “pleasing in a persistently difficult operating environment,” with double-digit service revenue growth of 22.7%, and of 24.7% in Q3. This was largely supported by solid growth in data revenue (up 46.2%) with an 11.2% YoY increase in active data subscribers in the nine months to September 2020. Total subscribers (excluding MTN Irancell) increased by 0.2 million in the quarter to 25.5 million.

However, the group results were supported by the strong performance of MTN’s larger operations. MTN South Africa service revenue increased by 2.1%, with an EBITDA margin of 39.3% (from 36,6%) and MTN Nigeria service revenue increased by 13.8%, with an EBITDA margin of 51.0% (from 53.7%).

Looking ahead, MTN said the group remained focused on managing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on its staff, customers, networks and the balance sheet and liquidity profile of the group.  

Commenting on the Group’s performance, president and CEO Ralph Mupita said: “As the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to impact lives and livelihoods across our market, the group has demonstrated strong operational execution and resilience during the period under review. Although trading conditions remain challenging, we delivered a solid performance in Q3 2020, during which the positive momentum achieved in key traffic and revenue trends towards the end of H1 2020 was sustained.”

“MTN South Africa sustained its turnaround, with acceleration in its core consumer and enterprise business units in Q3. MTN Nigeria recorded a solid result with some recovery in revenue growth under difficult operating conditions and MTN Ghana’s continued strong operational execution drove the delivery of another good performance.”

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