MTN lowers Iranian expectations

With its MTN Irancell mobile operation not yet commercially launched, the South Africa-based operator has lowered its target for the unit's end-2006 subscriber base to 1 million.

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By  Alex Ritman Published  September 5, 2006

MTN has scaled back it subscriber targets for its new venture in Iran. The South Africa-based operator had claimed it would attract 1.5 million subscribers to its MTN Irancell unit by the end of 2006, but with the operation yet to be commercially launched, this figure has been pushed back to 1 million. MTN now claims that the Iranian operator will be commercially launched towards the end of September 2006. Speaking earlier in the year, MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko said he hoped MTN Irancell, in which MTN owns a 49% stake, would be launched in August 2006, and that Iran was set to become one of the three pillars of growth for the company alongside South Africa and Nigeria. MTN has also announced its first half results, reporting an 18% rise in revenues to US$2.8 billion, with its domestic South African operation contributing over half of the total and Nigeria over a quarter. Group subscriber numbers rose 9.4% to 25.4 million. In May 2006, MTN announced it was purchasing pan-Africa and Middle East operator Investcom for US$5.5 billion. Investcom, which will be consolidated in MTN results from July, increased its customer base by 26% in the first half of the year to 6.14 million and boosted its core earning by 36% to US$255 million.

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