Friday March 6 2015

MTN posts Shs229 billion profit

A subscriber reads a text message from MTN showing

A subscriber reads a text message from MTN showing the amount of data and how long it can be used. The telecom firm has attributed growth in profits to data and mobile money. PHOTO BY DOMINIC BUKENYA  

By Mark Keith Muhumuza

KAMPALA - MTN Uganda has announced an 11 per cent rise in profit for 2014, on the back of growth in data and mobile money revenues.

The telecom company posted a net profit of Shs229 billion in 2014, up from Shs203 billion in 2013, the CEO Mr Brian Gouldie, revealed at a media briefing held in Kampala yesterday.

Before expenses and taxes are deducted, the company recorded revenues of Shs1.3trillion.
Mr Gouldie told also reporters that the voice segment of the market had continued to remain flat in terms of revenue.

“The voice revenues remain flat because this segment remains highly competitive among the eight operators in the country,” he said.

Talking to Daily Monitor on the sidelines of the briefing, Mr Gouldie noted that prices of voice had dropped during the period which resulted into falling revenues for the segment.

“As the market matures, voice growth slows down and the trend we have noticed is that more calls are being made by Ugandans but because prices dropped our return has reduced,” he said.

According to the financial statement, of the total revenue, data contributed Shs322 billion. In this week’s Prosper Magazine, in the Daily Monitor, Vodafone, a new player in Uganda’s telecom market, noted that data provides higher price points for operators.
This explains the increased marketing and subscriptions. It is estimated that 80 percent of all internet subscribers in Uganda use mobile handsets to access the internet.

This further explains investment by MTN in adding more 3G internet sites. In 2014, MTN spent at least Shs94bn on data infrastructure.

In 2015, the company plans to spend an additional Shs138 billion on upgrading data infrastructure.
Mr Gouldie did admit that the company faced challenges on data bundle subscriptions last year but was quick to point out that those glitches had been sorted.

The telecom also announced that subscriber numbers had increased to 10.4 million Ugandans, which it attributed voice bundles, improved 3G coverage and increased take up of MTN Mobile Money. Mobile is second largest revenue stream for the company.

“Mobile Money has been stabilised after we completed a Shs14billion upgrade of the system. This ensured stability and security of Mobile Money financial services,” Mr Gouldie said.

Mobile money transactions have been in the spotlight as Bank of Uganda moves a step to having regulations.
Meanwhile, the company announced it has acquired land where it will build its own offices and do away with rental expenses.

mmuhumuza@ug.nationmedia.com

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