Iranians and Africans get connected to MTN

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Telecommunications giant MTN boosted subscriber numbers by 11percent last quarter on the strength of its Middle Eastern and other African operations.

The company recorded a total of 68,2million subscribers for the quarter compared to 61,3million in the previous quarter.

The biggest increase was recorded in Iran, where subscriber numbers went up by 50percent from 6million to 9million subscribers.

The Middle East and North African market contributed 3,6million new subscribers compared to 2million in the West and Central Africa Region and 1 million in the South and East Africa market, which was supported by growth in South Africa.

The company increased new subscriptions by 3percent in South Africa from 14,7million in the last quarter to 15,1million at the end of March.

Khulekani Dlamini, a director at Renaissance Fund Managers, said: "Iran's base was quite low, but it's not a surprise considering that they (MTN) gave an indication of what they would be doing over there."

The company has made efforts in recent years to increase its presence in emerging world markets especially in the rest of Africa and the Middle East.

In the company's annual results brief last month, chief executive Phuthuma Ntleko said Iran would soon surpass subscriber numbers in South Africa.