South Africa’s second-largest mobile network operator, MTN increased its subscriber base by 800,000 in the first 9 months of 2022, according to its Q3 financial results released on Friday. This brings its total subscriber count to 35.9 million.

MTN South Africa stated that the growth was driven by higher gross additions and improved customer value propositions which fostered customer retention. Demand for integrated voice and data-centric plans led to postpaid subscriber numbers expanding by 10.4% to 8.0 million, while prepaid subscribers increased by 7.5% to 27.9 million.

Service revenue grew by 3.5% year-on-year with data leading the pack and contributing a hefty 45.4% to the operator’s total service revenue. Mobile data revenue grew by 13.3% year-on-year, backed by a 36.4% increase in data traffic and an 11.7% increase in active data users, taking the number to 18.8 million.

After reducing the effective data tariff by 23.4%, an active MTN prepaid data subscriber in South Africa consumes an average of 2.7GB a month, up 9.0% year-on-year, while an active postpaid data subscriber uses nearly 13.5GB per month, an increase of 20.9%.

Data-oriented packages also drove the uptick in consumer postpaid service revenue which increased by 4.2% year-on-year. Consumer prepaid service revenue grew by only 0.4% year-on-year and faltered by -1.2% for Q3, as a result of inflationary pressure and job losses, coupled with load-shedding.

On the 5G front, the company added 483 new sites in South Africa as the race for 5G dominance heats up in the country, offset by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA)’s 5G spectrum auction in March this year, which saw telcos in the country finally acquire spectrum bands to roll out 5G services.

In its fintech division, MTN SA registered 5.5 million new mobile money subscribers and recorded 1.1 million monthly active users by 30 September 2022, a growth of 136%. Its app also saw 2.5 million downloads in 2022.

Overall, MTN SA’s results saw a 0.7% growth in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) despite what the company termed a “tough macro-environment.”

The company’s share price also gained 2% after the release of the results on Friday, citing investor confidence in its performance for the quarter.

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