The rise and rise of MTN

An investment in MTN today, really, is a bet on three things: the unquenchable thirst for data services, its Nigerian business, and the obvious fintech opportunity across Africa.

02 October 2023

Critical to CEO Ralph Mupita’s strategy to unlock value in the MTN group is ascribing meaningful, realistic value to efforts such as fintech.

It’s highly likely that data revenue will exceed voice revenue across MTN’s 19 markets for this calendar year. In the 2000s, voice – with its fantastic profit margins – ensured that mobile operators such as MTN enjoyed outsized profits. Investors scored, too.

Today, though, the picture looks markedly different. Data, with structurally lower profit margins than voice, will become an increasingly bigger contributor to revenue (and income) in the future. MTN is the continent’s largest mobile operator, by subscribers, and has, since 2021, refocused on Africa. It has divested its operations in Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan and has been exploring the sale of smaller West African operations.

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