Month: June 2021
- MTN Group has today joined ‘Every Action Counts’, a new coalition to connect experts in nature conservation and climate change with some of the world’s leading digital platforms, financial institutions and consumer goods firms.
- Ambitious aim to empower 1 billion digital green champions by 2025. Founding partners include: Ant Group, BBVA, Dana, FNZ, GCash, Mastercard, MTN, Sanlam and Telenor Microfinance Bank.
- “Nature provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, but we have not been so kind in return. I welcome this coalition aiming to empower 1 billion people to become part of creating a world where everyday actions and choices combat climate change and end biodiversity loss. As we embark on the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, putting people at the centre of the green transition is key,” says Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UN Environment Programme, a supporter of Every Action Counts.
(Monday 28 June 2021). MTN Group has today joined a new global partnership to harness the power of green consumer behaviours to enhance biodiversity and climate efforts. The ‘Every Action Counts’ (EAC) coalition is launched today by the Green Digital Finance Alliance (GDFA), funded by the Finance for Biodiversity (F4B) initiative of the MAVA Foundation
The EAC brings together a global network of digital, financial, e-commerce, and consumer goods and services companies with experts in sustainability, and nature and biodiversity conservation. The new network will share best practices in encouraging individuals to take positive actions in daily life to create planet-friendly outcomes. Each coalition member will endeavour to pursue locally relevant approaches to driving sustainable consumer behaviours by advancing people-centric, tech-enabled and innovation-oriented engagement models.
The coalition holds the potential to scale green action as a norm which is encouraged, recognised and rewarded leveraging technology and innovation models.
Examples of this work in practice include:
- Philippines-based GCash forest, which rewards app users who reduce their carbon footprint by planting trees in partnership with groups such as WWF.
- Mastercard is uniting its global network of businesses and consumers in climate action through the Priceless Planet Coalition reforestation initiative. The company is also collaborating with partners to create innovative digital products that provide insights about the carbon impact of purchases and enable people to easily contribute to preserving the environment.
- Ant Forest, a green initiative on the Alipay platform that encourages users to adopt low carbon activities in daily life, such as going to work by bus instead of by car, and paying utility bills online instead of offline. The initiative has enabled the planting of over 220 million trees in less than five years.
The coalition aims to promote knowledge sharing to inspire innovative green tech solutions around the world, helping each payment platform and consumer goods company to focus on the green behaviours most relevant to their audience.
Nompilo Morafo, Group Executive: Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, at launch partner MTN said: “As MTN works to drive greater digital and financial inclusion, we recognise the importance of reducing our impact on the environment and balancing this to ensure more people are connected daily. We take a conservative approach to the use of energy, plastic, water and other resources through demand reduction, refurbishment, recycling and upcycling. For us, Every Action Counts enable us to offer our customers access to opportunities towards greener lifestyles and green job opportunities which can unlock the green economy across our markets.”
Marianne Haahr, spokesperson for the ‘Every Action Counts’ coalition and Executive Director of Green Digital Finance Alliance, said: “This new coalition wants to creatively leverage technology and partnerships to enhance green awareness and catalyse green action for 1 billion people by 2025. We want to encourage consumer behaviour that can become a driver of nature conservation and regeneration.
“We see a future where economic growth can coexist with, and even support, nature conservation and climate action, which is why we are bringing together partners who can help champion this vision for our global economy.”
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UN Environment Programme, a supporter of ‘Every Action Counts’ said: “Nature provides the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, but we have not been so kind in return. I welcome this coalition aiming to empower 1 billion people to become part of creating a world where everyday actions and choices combat climate change and end biodiversity loss. As we embark on the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration, putting people at the centre of the green transition is key.”
Launch partners are: Ant Group (China), BBVA (Spain), BigPay (Malaysia), DANA (Indonesia), FNZ (UK), GCash (Philippines), Lazada Group (Singapore), Mastercard (US), MTN Group (South Africa), Paytm (India), SANLAM (South Africa), and Telenor Microfinance Bank (Pakistan).
Experts working with the coalition include Siegmar Otto, a leading researcher on sustainable consumer behaviour and human-computer interaction; Professor Richard Wood of the Industrial Ecology Programme at NTNU (Norwegian University of Science and Technology); and environmental engineer Francesca Verones, also at NTNU.
On 22 June 2021 a complaint for violations of the Anti-Terrorism Act (the “Complaint”) was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York. The Complaint was filed on behalf of American service members and civilians, and their families, who were killed or wounded in Iraq between 2011 and 2016.
The Complaint alleges that telecom companies indirectly supported the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps by, inter alia, doing business with Iranian companies. The defendants named in the complaint are two different telecoms one of which is MTN and certain of its affiliates including Irancell (MTN holds 49% equity interest in Irancell).
MTN is reviewing the details of the complaint and is consulting its advisers but remains of the view that it conducts its business in a responsible and compliant manner in all its territories and so intends to defend its position where necessary.
MTN Group is committed to continued compliance with all applicable laws and continues to monitor all developments to ensure it acts in accordance with applicable laws.
We are pleased to announce that Global Credit Ratings (GCR) has upgraded the national scale long-term issuer rating of MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) to AAA and affirmed the national scale short-term rating of A1+, with a stable outlook. In addition, GCR upgraded the national scale long-term rating of the recently concluded N110 billion Series 1 Senior Unsecured Bond to AAA with a stable outlook.
These represent the highest possible long-term and short-term ratings on GCR’s national rating scale, and MTN Nigeria is the first mobile network operator in Africa to be accorded such ratings by GCR.
According to GCR, “the ratings accorded to MTN Nigeria reflect its very strong competitive position as the leading provider of telecommunications services in Nigeria, as well as its strong earnings and cash flow which has supported a robust financial profile.” Commenting on the rating, Karl Toriola, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are delighted with the outcome of the GCR rating. This demonstrates the resilience of our business and positions MTN Nigeria as the benchmark of reference for the information and communications technology sector for long-dated, fixed-term instruments. As we continue to invest in our network and strengthen our risk management processes, we remain focused on sustaining and accelerating growth in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy“.
MTN Nigeria plans to invest 640 billion naira (approximately US$1.5 billion) over the next three years to expand broadband access across the continent’s most populous country, in line with the federal government’s 2020-2025 National Broadband Plan and in support of MTN Group’s strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.
“Nigeria is one of our most important markets. We have a proud history of partnering with Nigeria and Nigerians to drive faster and more inclusive growth through digital transformation,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita after a three-day visit to Abuja and Lagos, in which he met a number of key stakeholders.
These included President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr Isa Ali Pantami; Executive Vice Chairman Prof Umar Garba Danbatta; as well as Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.
The MTN Group President – who was accompanied by MTN Group Chief Financial Officer Tsholo Molefe, MTN Nigeria Chairman Ernest Ndukwe and MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola – reiterated MTN’s support for Nigeria’s plans to secure 90% broadband population coverage by 2025. This aligns with MTN Group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life and our work to extend digital and financial inclusion across Africa.
The delegation welcomed Nigeria’s plans to auction 500MHz of 5G spectrum: five blocks of 100MHz in the 3500MHz band, which Mupita said would facilitate accelerated broadband access.
He said MTN Group’s plans to sell down 14% of MTN Nigeria to Nigerian investors were well advanced and this would happen as soon as conditions were conducive. MTN Nigeria, in which MTN Group has a 78,8% stake, sought to have the largest retail shareholder base on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where it has a market capitalisation of 3.4 trillion naira (US$8.2 billion).
“To mark the 20th anniversary of MTN’s operations in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria plans to build a new flagship headquarters in Lagos,” concluded Mupita.
MTN Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Eliane Houphouet-Boigny as the CEO of MTN Guinea-Bissau, effective 1 July 2021, the latest woman to take the helm at an MTN operation.
“I would like to welcome Eliane to the MTN family and look forward to her taking MTN Guinea-Bissau to new heights, as we work to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita.
Eliane is a seasoned professional with a career spanning more than 20 years, and experience across multiple markets in Europe and Africa. Most recently, she held several leadership roles at Nestlé, including Head of Innovation, Head of Business Transformation and Head of Operational Excellence & Continuous Improvement.
Eliane holds two Master’s degrees, one in Chemical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Switzerland) and another in Strategic Management from HEC School of Management in Paris.
She takes over the reins from Freddie Mokoena, who has been CEO of MTN Guinea-Bissau since September 2013.
‘I’d like to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude to Freddie. He has done an amazing job in leading the team over the past 8 years. Freddie steered the team through a period of amazing growth, and I am deeply thankful for his invaluable guidance and contribution to MTN,’ said Mupita.
MTN has been present in Guinea-Bissau since 2005 and has around 900 000 subscribers.
MTN Group is leveraging our expansive footprint across Africa to test and ultimately deploy OpenRAN – an innovative technology that will enable us to launch new services more quickly, cost-effectively and seamlessly, supporting our strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.
We plan to modernise our radio access networks using OpenRAN. This is in line with one of five vital enablers of our strategy: to build technology platforms that are second to none, thereby allowing for the rapid expansion of 4G and 5G population coverage across our markets.
With up-to-date technology, we can expect a reduction in our power consumption and associated carbon emissions. This, in turn, supports our plans to decarbonise our network and achieve net zero emissions by 2040, our Project Zero.
OpenRAN allows for the disaggregation of hardware and software elements of a network, enabling telcos to build a network using components with the same specifications and scale from a diverse base of vendors. A disruptive trend, it is gaining popularity as the industry seeks to promote an open and interoperable ecosystem between various vendors.
We at MTN aim to roll this out by the end of 2021 in collaboration with our partners Altiostar, Mavenir, Parallel Wireless, TechMahindra and Voyage.
As an early adopter, MTN first rolled out open-source technology in 2019 to improve rural coverage. This was in line with our belief that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. To date, we have deployed over 1 100 commercial sites in more than 11 countries and were among the pioneers of open-source adoption, facilitating cost-effective deployment in unconnected areas.
For all mobile network operators, radio access network (RAN) makes up the bulk of capital and operating costs. By applying OpenRAN, MTN targets further innovation and cost efficiencies.
“At MTN we are alive to the potential of open interfaces. There is a lot of value that dominant players bring to the business, but telecommunications today is as much about the stability of the network as it is about new services,” says MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Officer Charles Molapisi. “Customers measure us against the speed with which we can deploy the latest technology and we are committed to finding faster and better ways to do that.”
The many benefits of OpenRAN include diversifying the vendor landscape, disrupting the cost flow, and removing dependencies on proprietary suppliers. It also promises cost savings and flexibility as it allows operators to use generic hardware and open interfaces. It enables a so-called ‘Lego architecture’ where many different vendors supply the components and software products that together make the end-to-end radio network work. By modernising the network, we reduce our power consumption and emissions in support of our Project Zero.
“While OpenRAN brings a new architecture to mobile networks and more suppliers to deal with, it gives telcos much-needed flexibility,” says Amith Maharaj, MTN Group Executive: Network Planning and Design. “This means that MTN can now look at building a network that can meet cost and capacity requirements of specific markets, or even rapidly deploy 5G and/or 4G seamlessly with existing legacy services. This is a real game-changer for mobile advancement in emerging markets.”
While the technology is still in its early days and widespread adoption is likely years away, MTN has already collaborated with a number of global players to reap the benefits and trigger innovation. In efforts to drive OpenRAN standardisation, we are also participating in Facebook’s Telecom Infra Project.
“Early adoption gives us the ability to improve and deploy appropriate network architecture underpinned by technology, both tried and tested, and disruptive, to ensure we continue to deliver an exceptional experience, and ultimately play our part in harnessing the power of technology to lead digital solutions for Africa’s progress,” concludes Molapisi.
MTN Uganda and several members of the Telecom Infra Project (TIP) have signed an agreement that will advance network automation using TIP’s Disaggregated Cell Site Gateway (DCSG).
This first of its kind network deployment in Africa will see MTN evolve its Transport Network and turn it into a future-proof asset that will seamlessly enable its network transition to 5G. Transport Network transmits data traffic between points within a network that enable access to the internet. Through Ambition 2025, MTN’s strategic blueprint, Network-as-a-Service (Naas) is one of five scale platforms for growth that contribute to leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.
DCSGs ultimately provide connectivity between (Mobile sites and Enterprises) and the core network, which is what users access to connect to the internet. DCSG at these cell sites will see the hardware and software de-coupled, allowing greater flexibility in upgrading software and configuration. Typically, cell site hardware and software are aggregated, requiring wholesale replacement to upgrade the transport network.
For the Uganda deployment, Aviat will oversee the deployment of this DCSG solution using Network Operating Software (NOS) provided by ADVA, running on Edgecore Hardware. This solution in Uganda is a flagship development in accelerating connectivity in Africa, by enabling faster network roll-out to expand connectivity, a more stable and quicker network with reduced latency, providing users best-in-class connectivity to the internet.
“We are very excited about the potential of the DCSG solution. It promises to broaden our supplier market, expedite the development of new features, reduce capital expenditure, improve operational efficiencies through easier scalable and more features open networking ecosystem,” says Ali Monzer, CTIO, MTN Uganda. “To advance our service offering to our subscribers we continue to innovate and evolve our networks to support the increasing demand of higher capacity. In collaborating with the TIP community partners, we are not only able to innovate as a community, but also deploy leading technologies such as the DCSG to advance our network automation objectives.”
“This large-scale deployment of the DCSG in MTN Uganda is testament to our commitment to accelerate automation of MTN’s Transport Network,” says Lloyd Mphahlele, MTN Group General Manager responsible for the Transport Network.
“We are delighted to work with MTN on their network evolution journey. As Aviat, we are committed to bring innovation and simplicity to MTN’s network. In collaboration with our TIP community partners Adva and Edgecore, the MTN Uganda network will be a showcase operation of automated, intelligent, and always on network. A real network of the future” says Peter Smith, CEO of Aviat Networks.
“TIP’s DCSG will accelerate MTN in its evolution towards a more open disaggregated, standard-based transport network that will meet future customer needs and enable a more simplified, scalable, and agile network operating model. This collaboration with MTN is one more example of the role TIP is playing as a vehicle to accelerate testing and deployment of open network solutions in Africa, and as a catalyst for innovation. The solution provided by ADVA and Edgecore has gone through a lab validation as part of the TIP process to ensure its maturity,” says David Hutton, TIP’s Chief Engineer.
DCSG was developed within TIP’s Open Optical and Packet Transport (OOPT) Project Group. The TIP DCSG solution uses open, standard-based, disaggregated network technologies to target several opportunities in operators’ IP aggregation networks. These include overall deployment cost reductions and the creation of a more diverse supply chain, as well as operational efficiencies from being able to use Software-Defined Networking (SDN) technologies for network management automation.
MTN announced its collaboration with the TIP community to build transport products and network configurations that enable the company’s ambitions in world-class network capabilities.