MTN Nigeria CEO reaffirms telco’s commitment to invest N600 billion on core CAPEX

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc is committed to investing a whopping sum of N600 billion on its core CAPEX in 2020. This was disclosed by the Chief Executive Officer, Ferdinand Moolman,m who led a team of other MTN top executives during the telco’s earnings call that happened on Tuesday, March 3rd.

According to Moolman, the money will be invested heavily towards upgrading MTN’s fibre optics infrastructure, in order to facilitate its plan to increase 4G network coverage across more locations in the country.

MTN will also be using part of the earmarked budget to obtain some necessary licenses for some of the value-added services it plans to offer Nigerians starting 2020.

Meanwhile, the company would be making use of the cheapest available funding options to support these projects, Moolman noted. One of such options, he said, is the use of commercial paper.

An overview of MTN’s 2019 financials 

Earlier during the earnings call, Ferdinand Moolman expressed how very encouraged he was by the telco’s financial performance in 2019. According to him, the positive performance was due mainly to the foundations that were put in place to facilitate growth.

As Nairametrics earlier reported, MTN Nigeria reported double-digit growth in both its data and call business verticals. In total, the company’s total active subscribers stood at 64.3 million during the period, up by 10.5%, even as active data subscribers increased by 34.9% to 25.2 million.

MTN Nigeria also reported total revenue of N1.2 trillion for FY 2019, indicating a 12.6% rise. It reported EBITDA of N629.9 billion, marking a 45%, and a profit after tax of N202.1 billion (up 39%).

Looking back on the operating and regulatory environment in 2019 

Speaking further, Moolman noted that in 2019, MTN finally paid off the fine that was imposed by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the 2015 infraction of improperly registering SIM cards. The company also listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, thereby fulfilling all the settlement conditions set out by the Nigerian telecom regulator.

He also commented on all the regulatory issues the company has faced, some of which have been completely resolved while others are nearing resolution points. In regards to the regulatory challenges, Moolman stated that he is proud of the MTN team because they do not let all these challenges to distract them from what is important – and that is ensuring growth.

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Outlook for 2020 

This year, MTN Nigeria is going to focus on building its 4G network, widening its coverage area, and better utilising its super-agent license to accelerate financial inclusion across Nigeria, Moolman disclosed.

He noted that even though a lot of work has been done on the MTN network, more still needs to be done, especially as it patterns to 4G. The telco is anticipating a 60% reach in its 4G network coverage by the end of 2020.

In terms of its super-agent service, recall that MTN obtained its license from the CBN last year, thereby becoming the first Nigerian telco to do so. Subsequently, it launched MTN MoMo service and registered about a hundred and eight thousand (108, 000) agents across the country.

Approximately, about one million MTN subscribers have so far made use of the service since its launch, Moolman claimed. He stated that the company is excited by the prospects of MoMo, which basically enables the company to provide basic banking services to Nigerians, except lending.

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