Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN says data was one of its main drivers of revenue growth in the first financial quarter, as the country was placed under lockdown to curb the growth of the coronavirus pandemic.

The mobile operator recorded a 26.4 % jump in data revenue in the Q1 which ended March 31. Revenue from voice was down 6.3%, while fintech grew 26%. 

“The impact of the pandemic on our quarter one performance was not significant as lockdown restrictions for our consolidated subsidiaries were only implemented from the last week of March 2020,” said CEO Rob Shuter. 

Digital revenue increased by 15.6%. Demand for broadband has increased sharply since the country was put under lockdown, with companies making employees work from home in a bid to mitigate the spread of the pandemic. 

“We continued to build commercial momentum adding 6.6 million subscribers in the quarter, with active data users increasing by 2.9 million and MoMo subscribers by 0.4 million. “

In January, MTN announced the relaunch of its mobile money service (MoMo) in the local market, taking advantage of the country’s growing mobile finance tech space.

Chief Financial Office, Ralph Mupita, said MTN experienced a continued surge in data traffic during the month of April. Voice traffic and mobile money transactions were under pressure in light of various lockdown measures.

The company said that current environment is “marked by significant uncertainties”  – adding that it was still too early to assess the economic impact of the pandemic on customers and reliably quantify the direct or indirect financial effects on our business. 


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