The operator said the funds will be used over the next three years to help deliver home broadband as part of a rural connectivity programme
On an analyst call yesterday, MTN Nigeria’s CEO Karl Toriola said that the company is planning to invest $1.5 billion over the next three years to enhance broadband access in Nigeria.
Currently, MTN’s 4G network covers 65.1% of the Nigerian population, up from 60.1% in December 2020. The Nigerian government wants to see 90% population coverage by 2025.
According to MTN, the operator will connect an additional 1,000 rural communities this year, with an additional 2,000 the following year.
This investment pledge comes as MTN Nigeria reports its H1 2021 financial results, reporting a 9.9% loss in its mobile subscribers, down to 68.9 million, compared to December 2020. This is widely attributed to government restrictions on the sale and activation of new SIM cards, which was introduced in December 2020 in an attempt to audit the subscriber registration database and ensure compliance by mobile telephone operators to standard and quality norms, including biometric registration. This, it was hoped, would curb criminal use of unregistered SIM cards.
As a result of these measures, MTN Nigeria lost around five million subscribers in the first quarter. The regulation was repealed in April, but total losses based on H1 figures appear to be around seven million.
Nonetheless, the company’s financial results were very promising overall, showing a service revenue year-on-year growth of 24.1% to just under $2 billion, and data revenue increased by 48.3%, maintaining the positive momentum it had seen from 2020.
Unsurprisingly, fintech continues to be a major earner for the company, with revenue increasing 48.2%, and MTN Mobile Money transactions increasing by 280.8% in H1.
"MTN Nigeria continues to invest in improved world class services and its network, accelerating the expansion of our 4G coverage and providing home broadband. As part of our rural connectivity program, we plan to connect approximately 1,000 rural communities to our network this year with additional 2,000 communities in 2022," Toriola said.
MTN Nigeria is also in the process of renewing its operating spectrum licence for the next decade and preparing for the country’s first 5G spectrum auction set for Q4 this year.
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