MTN Group expects to continue investing in networks outside its home base in South Africa, in the wake of a solid performance in 2012, largely driven by a expanding subscriber base that fueled revenue.
Revenue for the South Africa-based telecommunications company rose 10.9 percent year over year to 135.11 billion South African rand (US$14.63 billion). The results show that the group saw its subscriber base increase by 15.1 percent to 189.3 million.
Announcing the results Wednesday, group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa said in a statement that the expansion in subscriber numbers was achieved in the face of ongoing government-mandated subscriber registration requirements and network challenges in key markets -- but was quick to add that prospects are good.
"The low levels of mobile penetration across our markets should support continued strong subscriber growth," Dabengwa said.
Group EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ) increased 7 percent to 58.5 billion rand.
After-tax profit rose 1 percent to 24.07 billion rand.
The South Africa-based telco announced a change in the group's brand vision from '"To be a leader in telecommunications in emerging markets" to "To lead the delivery of a bold, new digital world to our customers."
On a practical level, in markets like Uganda, MTN Uganda CEO Mazen Mroue said, this mean the company is laying the groundwork to increase the contribution of data and mobile-money services to overall revenue.
In the year ahead, MTN Uganda will roll out LTE service and increase Wi-Fi hotspot coverage across the country with investment capital to the tune of US$70 million.
The new MTN Group structure put in place in early 2012, which sees the business split into the key pillars of South Africa, Nigeria and the large and small Opco (operating company) clusters, has enabled more focused management and better execution of strategies across the various business units, Dabengwa said.
In 2013 the group expects to deliver continued organic growth in both revenue and EBITDA and anticipate reaching the milestone of 200 million subscribers by the middle of the year.