Johannesburg - MTN Group [JSE:MTN], Africa’s largest mobile
operator, on Friday reported a 4% rise in subscribers for the first quarter,
helped by increases in its key markets of South Africa, Nigeria and Iran.
MTN, which is currently the target of a lawsuit from rival
Turckcell, said in a statement its subscribers totalled 170.6 million at the
end of March, from 164.5 million at the end of December.
The number of subscribers rose by around 3% in South Africa
and Nigeria, while its customers in Iran increased by more than 6%.
Iran has been a significant moneyspinner for MTN, although
it has also brought serious controversy.
Turkcell is suing MTN for at least
$4.2bn in a US court, claiming MTN used corrupt practices and promises of
weapons to win its licence in Iran.
Turkey’s largest mobile operator initially won the bid for
the Iran licence in 2004. Tehran later backed out of the deal and awarded the
business to MTN in 2005.
MTN has said the case has no legal merit.
Shares of MTN were up 1.4% at R136.41 at 11:46 GMT.