By Moses Mugalu
MTN Uganda has continued to cement its position as the country's biggest telecom firm in terms of customers, with the company announcing its subscribers are now 10 million.
In a press statement, MTN announced: "As part of its celebration of the landmark achievement of 10 million subscribers, MTN Uganda has accorded the success to the loyalty and commitment of its customers and hence announced a give-back of 10 million minutes of free MTN airtime and 100 million MB of data."
Kenneth Kiddu, MTN Uganda's acting chief marketing officer, attributed the growth in the subscriber numbers to an increase in investment and customer loyalty. He said: "I cannot emphasize the importance of this milestone to us. It is clear from our research that network quality and investment remains one of the key reasons for customers' trust and loyalty to MTN and we are grateful to our customers... "
The statement noted that MTN Uganda had "cemented its position in the market both in terms of market share and value share. Since it was launched in 1998, MTN Uganda has moved steadily to control more than 50 percent of the telecommunications market in Uganda."
The statement also revealed some interesting numbers about the company's growth. In the six months to June 2014, MTN said it invested Shs 100bn in network and other infrastructure, "taking their cumulative capital expenditure to over Shs 1.5 trillion since inception."
MTN announced that it had "secured $60m as additional investment in 2014 to expand its infrastructure and services and this will be added to the $150mn invested during the last two years."
Brian Gouldie, MTN's new chief executive officer, said in a separate statement : "In addition, MTN needs to continue its investment in fibre technology, our 4G roll-out, corporate products and, solutions, through this we believe we will enable further efficiencies for our corporate customers and in turn future growth for the country."
MTN also announced that its Mobile Money platform recorded a 20.7 per cent increase since December 2013 to 6.2 million registered users. The users make more than 28.5 million transactions per month, according to the statement.
"These drivers have contributed to a 39.4 per cent increase in mobile money-related revenue," the statement noted.
Gouldie says the company sees the mobile money platform as a strategic avenue to lure more Ugandans towards financial services.
He said: "Our leading position in the financial services market, through Mobile Money, plays a critical part of MTN's evolution and future success. Financial inclusion is as critical to consumers as communications access is. By integrating these two business models, MTN will have the ability to enable our customers even further."
MTN noted: "This momentum is continuing, and we take pleasure in announcing that we have now surpassed the significant milestone of 10 million subscribers."
The telecom firm further explained: "These additional customers, together with our strong data revenue growth of 54.7 per cent, have contributed significantly to our 6.8 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue. Our data revenue now contributes 24.7 per cent to total revenues."
MTN has witnessed a drop in international calls. The firm pointed to government's new tax levy of nine cents per minute on incoming international calls for the 30 per cent drop over the last one year.