South Africa incorporated MTN Group says that its consolidated mobile base declined marginally by 0.7% quarter-on-quarter to 230.2 million at 30 September 2017.

The pan-regional operator said the fall was largely driven by lower reported subscribers in Nigeria as it continues to refine its active subscriber definitions there, as well as the disconnection of approximately 750,000 subscribers in Uganda, as a result of regulatory SIM registration requirements.

More positively, it reported that active MTN Mobile Money customers increased by 10.6% q-o-q to 19.8 million, total voice traffic (billable minutes) increased by 9%, and data traffic continued to grow strongly, up by around 125% year-on-year.

In addition, Group total revenue (on a constant currency basis) increased by 6.9% y-o-y, with service revenue up 7.4%, and data and digital revenue increasing by 31.4% and 19.6%, respectively.

In its home market, MTN South Africa recorded organic service revenue growth of 5.2% in the period under review, as ‘data and digital services revenue rose by 21.0% and 27.7% respectively, and were supported by a strong pre-paid performance as well as the continued recovery of the post-paid consumer segment’.

Subscriber numbers fell by 1.0% though, to 30.9 million, impacted by a 1.3% decline in the pre-paid segment (mainly the result of higher churn following the withdrawal of a Q2 2017 promotion). Post-paid subscriber numbers were stable.

Elsewhere, at the end of August 2017 MTN Uganda disconnected approximately 750,000 subscribers as a result of regulatory SIM registration requirements. As a result, the unit’s subscriber base declined by 3.2% to 10.8 million, it said.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria reduced its subscriber base by 5.2% to 50.3 million, impacted ‘by the modernisation of subscriber definitions. On a like-for-like basis MTN Nigeria reported positive net additions and continued to gain value share in the quarter. To further drive subscriber growth increasing the SIM registration footprint remains a priority,’ it said.