Q1 2024: MTN Nigeria's userbase sinks, loses ₦656.4 billion in foreign exchange

April 30, 2024
2 min read
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  • MTN Nigeria generated over ₦700 billion in revenue in Q1 2024, exceeding the average inflation rate. This is an increase from the ₦568.1 billion in revenue generated in Q1 2023.
  • Despite a 32% revenue increase, the telco incurred ₦656.4 billion in net foreign exchange losses due to macroeconomic factors such as exchange rate and naira depreciation.
  • Another factor influencing the telco's operations and user base decline was the Nigerian Communications Commission's (NCC) NIN-SIM directive, which confirmed that 8.6 million subscribers had been barred.

MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola stated that the directive impacted the telco's user base growth across its voice, data, and fintech businesses in Q1 2024. It also applied to subscribers who didn’t submit their NIN and had more than five lines associated with an unverified NIN.


“Although we had to fully bar 8.6 million subscribers in line with the directive, we minimised the net effect of the barred subscribers, and our total number of subscribers only decreased by 2 million in Q1, closing with a total of 77.7 million subscribers.”

Chart: MTN Nigeria recorded its first loss in 2023 since its Initial Public Offering
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In December 2023, the NCC directed all Nigerian telecom companies, including MTN, Glo, and Airtel, to implement full-service disconnection on all SIMs that do not have their users' NINs linked by February 28, 2024. However, it granted several extensions to this directive, extending the April 15th deadline to July 31, 2024.

Meanwhile, MTN Nigeria's active data users increased by 8.0% to 44.5 million but decreased by 78,000 from Q4 2023. Also, active mobile money (MoMo PSB) wallets increased by 48.7% to 4.8 million but declined by 566,000 compared to Q4 2023 due to the NIN requirement for Know Your Customer (KYC) validation. Additionally, its voice traffic rose by 5.1% and data traffic by 40.6%.

Despite a surge in revenue from voice, data, and digital services, MTN Nigeria's EBITDA fell 1.9% to N296.9 billion, with an EBITDA margin of 39.4%. The revenue increase was not enough to offset the negative effects of macroeconomic factors.

According to the CEO, implementing initiatives such as regulated tariff increases would be part of the telco's strategy for faster revenue growth, margin repair, and reserve rebuilding.

He also stated that it is working with the authorities on tariff increases to mitigate the effects of the difficult operating conditions required to support continued investment and the industry's long-term survival. He added that the telco intends to reduce its exposure to US dollar volatility.

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