MTN Group sees stunted growth

MTN Group's subscriber numbers fell during the first quarter of this year, the company's customer base decreasing by some 1.4% (to around 229 million) across 22 countries. This as disconnections ordered by the government in Nigeria – MTN's biggest market – curbed the growth of Africa’s largest wireless operator.

Phuthuma Nhleko (pictured), executive chairman, said in a statement:

"In order to mitigate any future regulatory challenges, the Group took an exceptionally conservative stance by disconnecting all subscribers who could possibly be deemed to be non-compliant. This has had a significant unfavourable impact on total subscriber growth and revenue [in the first quarter]."

The company cut its guidance for the full year to 11.95 million net additions, down from 12.5 million. MTN shares have lost around 23% of their value since the company was fined a record $5.2 billion in Nigeria in October last year. Although the penalty was later reduced to $3.9 billion, the company is still in negotiations about settling the outstanding amount.

According to reports, MTN Nigeria subscribers decreased by 6.9%, while in South Africa, the company's second-largest market, customer numbers fell by 1.7%.

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