MTC reaches 2m users; sales up 3.2%; 4G ‘in next few months’

8 Mar 2012

Namibia’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, Mobile Telecommunications (MTC), has announced that it reached the milestone of two million subscribers in February 2012, having grown its customer base from the 1.67 million users reported at the end of December 2010, and having doubled its total following the landmark of one million customers reached in September 2008.

MTC also reported that its annual revenues grew by 3.2% in its fiscal year ended September 2011, to NAD1.45 billion (USD189 million), although net profit fell by 14.2% to NAD319 million, compared to NAD372 million in FY2010, while EBITDA saw a drop of 1.4%. CAPEX investment was reduced to NAD237 million in the fiscal year, down from NAD417 million in the previous twelve months. The cellco partly attributes its growing sales to an increase in the average Namibian’s disposable income over the last few years, while the decrease in profitability was put down to ‘increases in costs of maintaining the network, as well as costs related to personnel.’ Post-paid customers represented 6.6% of MTC’s total user base but generated 34% (NAD490 million) of total revenues in the year under review, compared to pre-paid (‘Tango’) users accounting for 93.4% of customers and 66%, or NAD960 million, of revenue. Revenue from data services contributed 21% to total turnover in FY11, up from 18% in FY10, and mobile internet access alone accounted for 9% of sales, compared to 5% previously. SMS revenue represented 13% (12%) of the total.

Elsewhere, in response to MTC’s recent complaints of delays to the country’s fourth-generation (4G) mobile licensing process, the Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has assured the cellco that it is working to ensure the rollout of Long Term Evolution (LTE) network services in the capital city of Windhoek in the next few months, via the planned issuing of new 1800MHz band frequencies. However, the regulator has also stated that technical issues must be ironed out before the 800MHz 4G band is issued to cellcos, under its draft national frequency allocation plan, which is designed to take into account prospective new market entrants.