JOHANNESBURG, April 25 (Reuters) - South Africa's MTN Group said on Thursday its subscribers increased by 3 percent in the first quarter of the year, bringing its customer base to 195.4 million people across Africa and the Middle East.
MTN, Africa's largest telecom company, said in a trading upgrade that its revenue from data - an increasingly important part of its business - rose by 42 percent in the January-March quarter from a year earlier.
The company said it increased its subscribers across most of its major countries, with one of the biggest advances seen in Nigeria, where its customer base grew by 8 percent, or 3.9 million subscribers, from the previous quarter.
Its home market of South Africa bucked the trend, however, seeing a decrease of nearly 2 percent or, 470,000.
Shares of MTN were up 1.9 percent at 168.06 rand shortly after the start of trading on Thursday. The benchmark Top-40 index was little changed. (Reporting by David Dolan; Editing by Pascal Fletcher)