Eurobites: MTN thrives in Q1, despite SIM issues

Also in today's EMEA regional roundup: M-Pesa boosts Safaricom; BICS extends reach of SmartCIC; telecom gripes in France.

  • South Africa's MTN Group enjoyed a positive first quarter, with EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) up 21.1% year-on-year on service revenue that increased 15.9%, though service revenue growth was strongest at MTN's Nigerian and Ghanaian units, up 22% and 34.7% respectively. Subscriber numbers grew by 3.2% across the group year-on-year, to 276.2 million, though MTN believes this figure could have been substantially higher were it not for new SIM registration regulations in Nigeria.

    (Source: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo)
    (Source: Reuters/Alamy Stock Photo)

  • In Kenya, Safaricom increased its first-quarter EBIT by 13.5% year-on-year, to 109.13 billion Kenyan shillings (US$939 million), on service revenue up 12.3%, to KES281.11 billion ($2.41 billion). The operator saw particular momentum in mobile money, with M-Pesa revenue up 30.3% to KES107.69 billion ($926 million). Subscribers increased by 6.4% to 42.4 million. Safaricom has also announced it is launching commercial operations in Ethiopia within the 2022 calendar year.

  • BICS, the international services unit of Belgium's Proximus, has teamed up with SmartCIC to expand the reach of SmartCIC's Cellsmart platform, which helps enterprises roll out fixed wireless services. The collaboration should make it easier for SmartCIC's enterprise customers to switch between mobile network operators across a global footprint.

  • The latest customer satisfaction survey carried out by Arcep, the French communications regulator, has found that network quality of service remains the number one issue for users, though overall satisfaction with fixed and mobile operators has increased slightly. In 2021, Arcep received more than 38,000 reports/complaints, an increase of 14% on the previous year, and the vast majority of them related to the telecom sector. For mobile customers, operators' sales practices and the process of switching operators were the major bugbears.

  • UK towers company Arqiva has appointed Shuja Khan as its CEO, effective June 1. He succeeds Paul Donovan, who will stay on as a non-executive director on the Arqiva board. Khan has been Arqiva's chief commercial officer since January 202; prior to that, he was CCO at Cable & Wireless.

  • Deutsche Telekom has concluded its pay negotiations with the Ver.di labor union, settling on raises of between 2.7% and 3.1% on August 2022 and a further 2.1% raise on June 1, 2023. The agreement applies to around 55,000 Telekom employees, as well as apprentices and some interns.

  • The financial services arm of South African operator Vodacom has launched Vodalend Compare, an app-based service that allows customers to easily compare personal loan quotes. The service presents customers with up to nine tailored personal loan offers from independent providers and financiers.

  • Nokia is hoping to boost its profile in Japan with the opening of its revamped Advanced Technology Center (ATC), in which it will test and demonstrate its portfolio of 5G equipment, software and services. Nokia has acquired a local 5G radio license from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, which allows it to demonstrate 5G at the center in Tokyo.

    — Paul Rainford, Assistant Editor, Europe, Light Reading

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