MTN announced an interim dividend of 273 cents per share.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 3.9% to 25.2 billion rand and by 14.0% on a constant currency basis.

MTN subscribers increased by 7.5% since December to 152.3 million while MTN South Africa delivered a sound performance for the period increasing its subscriber base by 5.1% to 19.8 million for the six months to end June 2011. This was mainly due to growth in the prepaid segment which increased its subscriber base by 5% to 16.2 million subscribers.

At end June 2011 there were 4.6 million 3G devices on the network, of which 2.6 million were smartphones.

Blended average revenue per user (Arpu) decreased by 18.5 rand to 133.8 rand per month, mainly due to lower interconnect rates and the prepaid versus postpaid mix, the group said.

Prepaid Arpu decreased by 12.4 rand to 99.8 rand, while postpaid Arpu declined by 37.9 rand to 290.6 rand due to an increase in lower Arpu telemetry SIM cards diluting the postpaid base, MTN said.

The group said that continued investment in transmission (undersea cables and fibre) and radio technologies (2G, WIMAX and 3G), as well as mobile data solutions and sourcing of appropriate handsets, enabled it to increase data revenues (excluding SMS) by 24.1% to 3.558 billion rand and total data revenues (including SMS) by 14.2% to 6.950 billion rand.

Data growth was still primarily driven by South Africa.

Data revenue (excluding SMS) overtook SMS revenue for the first time and contributed 6.3% and 6% respectively of total revenue, MTN said.

Capital expenditure for the period of 5.71 billion rand was 32.8% lower than the comparative period following delays in the rollout of certain capital expenditure projects and a 603 million rand currency impact.

“We expect to step up the pace of rollout in the second half of the year to make up for the delays. Full year capital expenditure guidance has been revised marginally up to 22.165 billion rand,” the group said.

Mobile Money had been implemented in 12 countries and Nigeria was expected to introduce this using a partnership model.

At end June 2011, MTN highlighted 5.1 million registered mobile money subscribers, with Uganda and Ghana, each accounting for 37% of the total.

Looking ahead, MTN said that it was confident of the opportunities that existed within its footprint and of its ability to profitably maintain and grow its market share.

“The group will continue to evolve its business model to better support ICT convergence and cost optimisation through various initiatives. Operations in countries affected by local political tensions continued to operate satisfactorily with the group taking precautionary measures wherever necessary,” it concluded. – I-Net Bridge