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Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN says robust demand for data helped group core profit grow more than a fifth in its first quarter to end-March, also reporting strong subscriber growth momentum in Nigeria, its biggest market, despite new SIM registration rules.

Group service revenue rose 15.9% to R42.26bn in the quarter ending March, MTN said on Friday, with subscriber numbers up 3.2% to 276.2-million, or 3.9% when excluding Africa’s most populous country. The group’s core profit was up 21.1% year on year, with data revenue up more than a third, and data usage rising almost half...

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