“MTN delivered a satisfactory performance during the first quarter of 2014, underpinned by strong data growth, competitive offerings and improved network quality and coverage,” the group said in a statement.
“Our operating environment remains tough with persistent price competition and regulatory challenges in key markets.”
The group’s subscriber numbers grew marginally by 1.1 per cent quarter-on-quarter from December 2013. This was due to the ban on the sale of SIM cards in Nigeria during March, the disconnection of non-revenue generating subscribers in South Africa and slower subscriber growth in Iran.
Data and mobile money nonetheless been placed in prime position as traditional voice revenue remains under pressure for the group.
Data revenue for [DATA MTN:MTN Group Limited] increased 43.3 per cent year on year and contributed to 17.0 per cent of total revenue, as well as a 12.0 per cent increase in mobile money subscribers.
Overall subscriber numbers for MTN South Africa reduced by 824, 768, bringing the total number of subscribers to 24.9 million at the end of the quarter.
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MTN Nigeria grew its subscribers marginally to 57.2 million and the operation’s market share declined marginally to 49.3 per cent.
MTN in Ghana, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Uganda however managed to increase their subscriber bases, but MTN Syria’s subscriber figures declined following a tough operating environment spurred on by security, power outages and insufficient fuel supply.
MTN Sudan had a net reduction of 52,000 subscribers, with an overall base remaining at 8.7 million subscribers. The reduction was due to increased competition and a spike in unrest in the southern region of the country.
“Data continues to bolster revenue growth increasing by 13.3 per cent year on year and now contributes 22.8 per cent of the operation’s revenue,” said MTN.
“MTN South Africa continued to focus on regaining relevance in the pre-paid segment and maintaining its post-paid market share.”