MTN Ghana saw its service revenue over the past quarter grow by 20.4%, to 1.43 billion Ghanaian cedi (US$246 million), buoyed by double-digit growth in its voice, data and Mobile Money (MoMo) revenue.
This is according to a quarterly update from the pan-African operator which also warned that the COVID-19 pandemic was likely to impact the Ghanaian operation's outlook going forward.
MTN Ghana grew its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) by 34.5% year-on-year (YoY), to GH¢768m ($132 million), for the quarter ended March 31, 2020.
The telco's voice revenue grew 16.6%, as active subscribers rose, but the contribution of voice to total service revenue dropped from 47.1% to 45.6% "as other lines of revenue continued to grow faster than the traditional business in line with our revenue diversification strategy."
Data revenue jumped 19.4% while MoMo revenue grew 30.4% YoY.
MTN Ghana's subscriber base grew 6.2% over the quarter to 23.9 million customers. MTN also saw a good uptick in data subscribers, which grew 5.4% quarter-on-quarter (QoQ) to 21.2 million.
MTN MoMo users are also growing in Ghana, with 15.5 million registered users at the end of March, up 6.9% QoQ.
MTN listed a 35% stake in its Ghanaian business on the Ghana Stock Exchange in September 2018.
MTN Ghana's subscriber base grew 6.2% in the first quarter of 2020, to 23.9 million customers.
The group warned that the COVID-19 pandemic, coupled with the sharp fall in oil prices, is likely to significantly slow down GDP growth in Ghana and impact the telco.
The country's recent restrictions on people's movements and business operations resulted in "some disruptions in demand and supply chains and consequently led to dampening of the levels of economic activity in the country," MTN Ghana said in a statement.
The operator said it had started the year with a strong quarterly performance and optimism about the financial year 2020, but uncertainty associated with the likely duration and related economic impact of the pandemic "calls for a more measured outlook in the near-term."
"The potential areas of impact and focus include employee safety; supply chain delays and availability; management of credit and liquidity; currency risk; counterparty risk; and the potential revenue impact from reduced consumer spend," it said.
MTN said that voice and MoMo revenue have experienced an immediate impact from the current macro disruptions and government interventions to manage the COVID-19 situation, based on early trends. This included a Bank of Ghana directive to zero-rate all Mobile Money peer-to-peer transfers up to GH¢100 ($17.2) daily for a period of 90-days.
"Although we have witnessed growth in data revenue, due to shifts in behaviour to work-from-home and school-from-home schemes, this does not fully offset the slowdown in voice and Mobile Money revenue," it said.
This year did not begin the way most people expected it to, so what does the future of the telecoms sector look like in Africa in 2020? In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss what African operators’ priorities for the year should be and the most significant market trends expected to dominate in 2020.
Will MNOs focus on sweating their current assets rather than investing in new technologies like 5G?
What impact will COVID-19 have on the continent’s networks?
What are the hot market trends in Africa when it comes to voice, data and mobile financial services?
The majority of 5G in Africa is still in the testing stage. However, as operators prepare their networks for the technology jump, what strategies are they deploying to ensure they gain the full value that 5G can offer Africa? This digital symposium will give you an insight into the opportunities and challenges facing Africa’s 5G rollout, with some country specific case studies unpacked.
How 5G-ready is African enterprise?
Is 5G a priority for in Africa, should it be? Or can operators and businesses focus on growing their 3G and 4G networks for enterprise instead?
What are the most significant enterprise business applications for 5G deployment on the continent, and where can 5G facilitate IoT applications?
Africa was the birthplace of Mobile Money and while it continues to rise in popularity, the industry is quickly evolving and launching more mobile-based financial services every day. In this Connecting Africa online event, local analysts and industry stakeholders will discuss how telcos are disrupting the financial services space and what the rise of Mobile Money 2.0 will look like for Africa.
From cash to mobile: heading towards a cashless society
Expanding MFS offerings beyond mobile money transfers
MNOs vs banks vs fintechs: an evolving competitive landscape
Unconnected and unbanked: fintech to improve financial inclusion
The rise of micro-loans and insurance through mobile platforms
Africa has the fastest growing population in the world and also the youngest, with 60% of Africans under the age of 25. It is clear that the next billion connected are going to be the mobile-only generation. This digital symposium will bring industry experts together to discuss Africa’s digital divide and how to get devices into the hands of young Africans and empower them to join the digital revolution.
Who’s Driving? The role of government & regulator, private tech companies, and public-private partnerships
Device affordability: are we reaching a tipping point?
Status check: Satellite vs Fiber and the enduring infrastructure gap
Exploring the wider societal and economic benefits of a connected, digitally literate continent