Millicom International Cellular (MIC), which offers mobile services throughout Africa and mobile/cable broadband in Latin America under the Tigo and Tigo Star banners, has reported annual revenue of USD6.249 billion for the twelve months ended 31 December 2016, down 4.9% from USD6.572 billion year-on-year (although the group noted that this represented a decline of only 0.4% in local currency terms). MIC attributed the drop to eroding voice and SMS revenues ‘reflecting the changing patterns of customer usage seen in mobile markets globally,’ with the trend particularly pronounced in the operator’s largest market, Colombia. EBITDA, meanwhile, stood at USD2.172 billion in FY 2016, representing a 0.8% dip y-o-y. , while the group narrowed its net losses to USD32 million, compared to the deficit of USD559 million reported in 2015.
In operational terms, MIC reported that its Latin America mobile user base dropped 1.8% on an annualised basis, to 32.004 million, while mobile data users increased 14.0% to 13.719 million, among which 4G subscribers surged 300.9%, from 856,000 at end-2015, to 3.432 million. MIC’s leading LTE market by subscribers at end-2016 was Guatemala, with 1.16 million 4G users, followed by Colombia (one million), Bolivia (840,000), Paraguay (280,000) and Honduras (74,000). The remaining 4G customers are based in El Salvador, following a December 2016 LTE launch. Regarding its LatAm cable operations, MIC counted 3.694 million revenue generating units (RGUs), up 13.9% y-o-y. Across its African operations, meanwhile, MIC booked a 2.9% increase in mobile subscriptions to 25.407 million, with Senegal seeing the largest growth rate (20.0%). MIC also confirmed that it agreed to sell its Senegalese subsidiary to Wari Group earlier this week for USD129 million, subject to regulatory approvals.
MIC CEO Mauricio Ramos said: ‘In 2016 we made substantial progress towards our strategic goal of a two-fold reconfiguration of our business, rapidly growing our mobile data and cable revenue in Latin America, and pushing ahead with major initiatives to enhance our operational efficiency. Looking ahead to 2017, we aim to accelerate further the implementation of our strategy in Latin America, targeting to roll out state-of-the-art fibre to more than one million additional homes in the year, and to add more than three million new 4G mobile data customers.’