MTN Group’s largest subsidiary, MTN Nigeria, on Wednesday, reported a sharp rise in subscriber numbers in the third quarter – up 3.9 million from the second quarter to reach 75 million – while active data subscribers climbed by 1.7 million to 30.7 million.

The emerging-markets telecommunications group revealed the numbers in the results for its Nigerian operation for the nine months to 30 September 2020.

Cumulative net additions totalled 10.7 million in the nine-month period, marking the first time it has exceeded 10 million additions in an annual cycle with one quarter remaining.

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Despite the subscriber growth, MTN Nigeria’s operating margins came under pressure with from rising costs impacting its margins and dampening profitability, said outgoing CEO Ferdi Moolman. There was also volatility in both voice and data revenue affecting overall service revenue.

“Following a decline in voice and an acceleration in data during lockdowns in Q2, we have seen a normalisation of traffic as restrictions have been removed, with a recovery in voice traffic and continued growth in data. This has supported a 13.9% growth in service revenue, with an acceleration of growth to 16.5% in Q3 specifically,” Moolman said.

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