Rwanda's leading telecommunications company, MTN Rwanda, has reported a decrease in profits despite experiencing an increase in its mobile subscriber base. According to the telecom's first-quarter results, MTN Rwandacell stated that its profit after tax (PAT) dropped by 32 percent to Rwf2.8 billion. The company attributed the decline to the impact of increased financing costs associated with CPI movements on lease payments. ALSO READ: How MTN plans to address low smartphone penetration Despite the profit decrease, the group reported a 7.0 percent year-on-year increase in mobile subscribers, reaching 6.9 million. However, there was a slight decrease of 0.7 percent in active data subscribers, which totaled 2.2 million. MTN Rwanda achieved solid top-line performance in the first quarter of 2023, aligning with our service revenue medium-term guidance. This is noteworthy considering the ongoing challenging macroeconomic environment, where year-on-year CPI inflation rose by an average of 19.3 percent in March, slightly lower than 21.6 percent in December 2022, MTN Rwanda Chief Executive Mapula Bodibe revealed. Service revenue saw a notable increase of 14.9 percent, reaching Rwf58.4 billion, while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) grew by 9.4 percent to Rwf27.0 billion. Due to intensified competition in the industry, MTN Rwanda experienced a 0.5 percent drop in its customer market share, which now stands at 64.1 percent. ALSO READ: How MTN Rwanda has fared since debuting on Stock Exchange Bodibe highlighted that MTN Rwanda expanded its population coverage to 99.0 percent by investing Rwf12.9 billion in capital expenditures, which led to the deployment of 34 new sites. This investment improved the network performance and allowed MTN Rwanda to reclaim its position as the number one network in terms of Net Promoter Score (NPS). Although there was a slight reduction in our active data subscribers, ending the quarter with 2.2 million subscribers, we observed a 2.0 percent increase in smartphone penetration to 23.5 percent. Over 238,000 smartphones were added to our base, bringing the total number of smartphones in use to 1.6 million, Bodibe stated. We anticipate that as our device financing solution, 'Macye Macye,' continues to gain traction, we will witness growth in both active data subscribers and smartphone penetration. Fintech sector experiences significant growth Regarding the fintech sector, Bodibe mentioned that the group achieved double-digit growth in active Mobile Money subscribers, which rose by 17.2 percent to 4.4 million subscribers. Additionally, strong revenue growth of 39.4 percent was recorded as MoMoPay merchants continued to increase, demonstrating the popularity of mobile payments across various aspects of daily life in Rwanda. We anticipate maintaining a robust performance in the fintech business as we introduce more advanced payment products throughout the year, she said. Looking ahead, Bodibe emphasized, We are eagerly awaiting the launch and expansion of our 4G network, the scaling of our Macye Macye device financing initiative, and the introduction of advanced mobile money products. These initiatives are expected to drive growth in line with our midterm guidance. As we execute our Ambition 2025 strategy, we remain committed to providing leading digital solutions for Rwanda's progress. MTN Rwanda represents 2.36 percent of MTN Group subscribers and holds a 64.6 percent market share within the country.