MTN Reveals Capex, 5G Coverage, Revenue Growth and Data Subscribers

MTN Group has revealed the company’s growth in terms of Capex, 5G subscribers, revenue and data customers for 2023.
Capex guidance of MTN for 2024MTN is targeting Capex (ex-leases) of R35-39 billion for FY 2024 with capex intensity of 15 percent-18 percent.

MTN is planning to set aside 26 percent of its Capex for South Africa, 29 percent in Nigeria, 10 percent in SEA, 25 percent in WECA, 1 percent in MENA, 5 percent for Bayobab and  4 percent Manco and others in 2024.

MTN’s Capex was R41.1 billion (ex-leases) with Capex intensity of 18.6 percent.

The population covered by 3G, 4G and 5G networks grew by 10.6 million, 32.3 million and 46.2 million respectively. MTN has recorded 183.3 million smartphones on its network, representing 62.6 percent penetration of the customer base as compared with 57.5 percent in 2022.

MTN deployed R41.1 billion of capex (ex-leases) to support the focused execution of its Ambition 2025 strategy. The progress of MTN South Africa’s (MTN SA) network resilience plan was a key success in the year, which significantly improved network availability and supported commercial initiatives, despite ongoing loadshedding.

By the end of 2023, MTN SA achieved network availability of 95 percent ahead of schedule, with availability of approximately 98 percent on the cohort of sites where resilience investment had been completed, said Ralph Mupita, Group President and CEO of MTN.

MTN invested in network capacity expansion, with a R63.6 billion spent on Capex on an IFRS 16 basis, a 12.0 percent increase. Capex (ex-leases) was up by 7.6 percent to R41.1 billion, which includes a hyperinflation impact of R1.0 billion (2022:  R857 million). Also included in Capex (ex-leases) was R2.7  billion arising from the capitalised costs of the renewed ECW agreement in fintech. Capex intensity (ex-leases) was 18.6 percent, compared to medium-target range of 15-18 percent. In the period, MTN rolled out 3,319 3G, 5,356 4G and 2,251 5G sites.

During the year, MTN SA invested R10.1 billion of Capex (ex-leases), including its resilience plan to improve network availability in the context of increased loadshedding. By December 2023, MTN SA’s network availability had improved significantly and ahead of schedule, to approximately 95 percent. This translated to an improvement in customer satisfaction, with the Net Promoter Score (NPS) on network recording a notable increase.

MTN Nigeria’s Capex was R16.8 billion on IFRS 16 basis (R12.7 billion ex-leases).

MTN West and Central Africa (WECA) region’s Capex was R21.8 billion on IFRS 16 basis (R10.8 billion ex-leases).

MTN Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s Capex was R1.6 billion IFRS 16 leases (R1.5 billion ex-leases).

REVENUE

MTN Group service revenue grew 13.5 percent to R210 billion, with data revenue making up R84 billion and voice revenue contributing R83 billion. Fintech revenue totalled R21 billion.

MTN Group increased the number of active data subscribers by more than 9 percent to 150 million – half the total subscriber base – and active Mobile Money (MoMo) users by 5 percent to 72.5 million. Total subscribers increased to 295 million across the Group’s markets.

In 2023, data traffic on MTN’s networks (excluding joint ventures) grew by more than a third, with usage up to an average of more than 6GB per user per month.

The volume of fintech transactions increased by around a third to 17.6 billion, with the value of transactions across the fintech platform up at US$272 billion, driven by growth of advanced services in payments, banktech and remittance solutions.

In South Africa, where the business faced loadshedding challenges, MTN deployed R10 billion of capex to drive network capacity expansion and power resilience. More than R2.6 billion of this was investment in power and security resilience. By the end of the year, network availability across the entire network reached around 95 percent. For the sites where it had completed resilience investment, MTN recorded network availability of more than 98 percent.

MTN South Africa reported solid growth in the consumer postpaid, enterprise and wholesale businesses. In the second half of the year there were also sequential improvements in the consumer prepaid business.

Strategic delivery

MTN made strategic progress in the development of fintech and fibre businesses. A key highlight was concluding an agreement for payment network processor Mastercard to invest up to US$200 million for a minority stake in MTN Group Fintech at a valuation of US$5.2 billion.

In the year, Bayobab and Africa50 partnered to develop Project East2West, a terrestrial fibre optic cable network to help bridge Africa’s connectivity gap by improving broadband access for the continent’s landlocked countries in particular.

Baburajan Kizhakedath