African and Middle East mobile carrier MTN Group has published its quarterly trading update for the three months to 31 March 2020, highlighting that the group delivered a solid performance in the first quarter, increasing constant currency service revenue by 11.1% and EBITDA by 15.6% with EBITDA margin improving by 2.1 percentage points to 43.2%, in line with medium-term targets. Further, the South Africa-based operator said it recorded voice, data and fintech revenue growth of 6.3%, 26.4% and 26.0% respectively, as it ‘continued to execute on our strategic objectives and progress toward becoming a digital operator’. Digital revenue has returned to growth, it said, increasing by 15.6% in the period under review, as it added a net 6.6 million subscribers in the quarter across its operations, with active data users increasing by 2.9 million and mobile money (MoMo) subscribers up 400,000.
Commenting on the Q1 performance, MTN Group president and CEO Rob Shuter said: ‘The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy have brought about unprecedented uncertainty, volatility and challenges which are impacting our markets at both the socio-economic and macro-economic levels. The impact of the pandemic on our quarter one performance was not significant as lockdown restrictions for our consolidated subsidiaries were only implemented from the last week of March 2020 … On strategic progress, the digital business returned to growth, booking 15.6% in the quarter. In MTN South Africa the enterprise business recorded its second quarter of growth and in May we commenced phase 2 of the national roaming agreement with Cell C and look forward to a continued partnership … In these difficult times we continue to focus on our key priorities: looking after our people, our customers and our networks while we focus on efficiencies.’