MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile phone operator, reported a slowdown in quarterly subscriber growth on Thursday, squeezed by stiff competition and tougher regulation in its key Nigerian market.
According to Reuters, MTN said users increased 0.9 percent in the three months to end-September, a slowdown from 2 percent growth the same time a year ago.
Chief Executive Sifiso Dabengwa said the company's subscriber base in Nigeria fell marginally after more than 5 million users disconnected from the network having failed to register their SIM cards.
"Aggressive price competition, weakening macroeconomic conditions in most of our markets and unfavourable exchange rate movements continued to impact financial performance for the quarter," Dabengwa said.
Although mobile phone penetration is still well below 100 percent in Africa, growth in users is set to slow sharply in the next five years because the industry finds little commercial logic in deploying networks in remote, rural areas.