Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.


Millicom's Mobile Ops Still Growing

Article Image
International mobile operator Millicom may not be interested in the African sector any more, having offloaded most of its business across the continent, but it still has mobile operations in Chad and Tanzania (including Zantel) and those businesses added 155,000 new customers in the three months to the end of September, according to the operator's recent third quarter earnings report.

Millicom, which is now focused on expanding its cable and mobile operations in Latin America, has nearly 15.6 million customers across those two African markets, up 9.7% from a year earlier. The vast majority, more than 12 million, are in Tanzania. More than 6.8 million of those customers use its mobile financial services, a near 16% increase from a year ago. (It also has a joint venture in Ghana but that is now regarded as a discontinued operation and is not included in any reporting -- see Bharti Airtel, Millicom Combine Operations in Ghana.)

Total revenues from the African operations, which trade under the Tigo brand, are in slight decline, though, down 0.4% year-on-year to US$131 million for the third quarter (sales were up in Tanzania but dipped badly in Chad). That decline is reflected in its average revenue per user (ARPU), which dipped by 7.7% in local currency terms, most notably in Chad where tax increases imposed earlier in the year hit spending. On aggregate, the ARPU level dipped to $2.6 per customer from $2.9 per customer.

But its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) from those African operations increased by more than 12% to $38 million. And its costs are going down: Millicom invested only $8 million in capex during the quarter, down almost 42% year-on-year. So it's basically just keeping the lights on.

In the third quarter, Millicom's African operations accounted for 8.7% of group revenues and 6.7% of its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA).

To comply with local laws, Millicom is on course for an IPO of at least 25% of its operation IN Tanzania, a process that should get underway soon. After that it's surely only a matter of time before it offloads these remaining African assets to focus purely on Latin America.

— Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-Chief, Light Reading for Connecting Africa.

Innovation hub


Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.


Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives


Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.


Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives


Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.


Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.


How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign Up