Mobile network operator and supplier of Fibre To The Home services MTN has released its quarterly update for shareholders today, showing an increase in the overall number of subscribers to its networks worldwide over the last year. With average revenue per user (ARPU) down in most countries, the firm says it is looking to data and mobile money for future growth.
It says data revenues are up 43.3% year-on-year, and now make up 17% of total revenue for the firm.
In South Africa, the total number of subscribers is down by just under 100 000 over the course of the year, but there has been an increase of almost half a million people taking up lucrative post-paid contracts. Pre-paid figures are down from 20.3 million to 19.6 million over the course of the year, although the firm attributes this to the fact that it has kicked off nearly a million ‘non revenue generating’ customers since the start of 2014.
That’s basically people who have pay-as-you-go SIMs that they use solely for receiving calls. Like most networks, MTN has a policy of closing accounts that haven’t been used for 90 days or more – this sudden large scale crackdown points to an interest in reducing the number of dual SIM owners in the country. It’s a popular habit to carry two cards or phones, one that gets good reception (on a big network like MTN for example) and one that makes cheap calls (on a smaller network like Cell C, for example).
MTN recently reduced its pre-pay charges to 79c per minute as part of a price war against the likes of Cell C.