Response to digital currency document circulated on the internet

MTN Group is aware of a proposal that has been circulating on the internet, regarding a digital currency product called ‘MTN Coin’. The unsolicited proposal submitted to MTN by an entity called Eureka Africa was not adopted, and we therefore wish to distance ourselves from the document, as well as the services and offerings it mentions, as these are not provided by MTN.

We continually engage and collaborate with various vendors, and if necessary, use official MTN channels to communicate such partnerships.

We request that publishers refrain from sharing this document or its contents on any public platforms.

 

MTN Group drives innovative rural coverage using OpenRAN technology

In the continued drive for innovation in cost-effective rural coverage MTN is pleased to announce that it has deployed over 200 commercial rural sites across its footprint, using OpenRAN technology. MTN is amongst the pioneers of OpenRAN – the technology which enables operators to achieve cost-effective deployments allowing for greater connectivity to previously unconnected areas.

MTN is projecting to deploy more than 5,000 sites in rural areas across its 21 operations, bringing 2G, 3G and 4G connectivity to areas that were previously unconnected. In order to realise this goal, MTN will rely on an ecosystem of partners who will bring their expertise to build and maintain the sites, utilising a full turnkey approach.

“Our Group Technology team has been pioneering OpenRAN, concluding field trials in Zambia in 2018 and deploying commercial sites from the beginning of 2019. We focus on creating viable new RAN solutions alongside the traditional deployments of network technology suppliers in order to accelerate the rural expansion in our markets,” said Rob Shuter, MTN Group President and CEO.

MTN operations in Uganda and Guinea Conakry are already benefiting from this technology, as MTN has also partnered with the likes of VANU, Parallel Wireless and NuRAN Wireless to deliver the technology.

As one of the foremost members of the Telecom Infrastructure Project (TIP), MTN carries out solution testing on all hardware and software elements at its state-of-the-art head office in Johannesburg, South Africa. The TIP initiative aims to define 2G, 3G and 4G RAN solutions based on general-purpose, vendor-neutral hardware and software-defined technology.

By continuing to accelerate innovation through initiatives such as OpenRAN, MTN continues to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, solidifying its position as a leading mobile operator in the market.

Ayoba messaging platform, powered by MTN, reaches 1 million active users

MTN Group today announced that its instant messaging platform, Ayoba has reached 1 million monthly active users. Ayoba is an advanced communications application localised for African and Middle East consumer needs, under an independent Over the Top (OTT) brand with unique features for MTN customers. The app supports many local languages spoken across the MTN markets including isiZulu, isiXhosa, Pidgin, Yoruba, Swahili, Hausa, French and English.

MTN, together with its partners, is driven to improve access to affordable communications to ensure that people in its markets can reap the social, economic and developmental dividends of being online. Ayoba underscores this goal to bring more people into the digital world by providing them with affordable and simplified digital communication services.

Commenting on the milestone, MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter said, “We believe that our customers in Africa and the Middle East deserve a communication platform that expresses our unique voice, honours our rich identity through local languages, and addresses our customers’ specific needs and challenges by offering a data-included offering for MTN users, Mobile Money transfers (coming soon) and locally relevant content via channels.”

The platform which was launched earlier this year is now operational in 8 MTN markets, namely: Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Congo Brazzaville, Nigeria, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Afghanistan and South Africa. Ayoba is also available across multiple markets on the Google Play Store and via the Ayoba website www.ayoba.me as an OTT offering.

As part of continuous efforts to enhance its offerings, Ayoba will be adding more features in the future. “Ayoba is also working on building an open digital platform that will enable third party innovation. This will ensure that we offer a rich diversified experience on the platform, enabling us to deliver more value to our users, empower local developers and create local experiences that are optimised for local communities,” explains David Gilarranz, CEO MTN Digital.

Some of Ayoba’s key features and offerings are:

  • Local languages: Ayoba is available in the top local languages in the markets where the offering has launched.
  • Chat now: Users can instantly send and receive text and voice messages with any of their contacts regardless of device type or network.
  • Security: End-to-end encryption means that messages in a conversation cannot be read by anyone else.
  • Chat with everyone: Users can send SMS text messages with anyone in their contact list, regardless of whether they’ve installed Ayoba or not.
  • Channels: Users can subscribe to Channels for locally relevant content across various categories.
  • Money transfers: Users will be able to make and receive payments via Mobile Money (coming soon).

Gilarranz adds that in addition to the number of exciting innovations on the cards Ayoba plans to expand to the rest of MTN’s markets, and other territories across the globe. Before the end of the year, Ayoba will go live in Guinea Conakry, Liberia, Benin and Rwanda.

MTN partners with Internet Watch Foundation to make the Internet a safer place for children

In its continued effort to fight against the exploitation of children on the internet, MTN Group yesterday announced the launch of its Child Online Protection initiative by signing a partnership with the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF). MTN is the first Africa-wide Telecommunications Company to partner with the IWF.

MTN believes that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life, and that all users of our products and services have the right to freely and safely enjoy the digital solutions we offer. Our Child Online Protection programme is in line with the MTN “We’re good together” initiative that was launched in October aimed at demonstrating how, through partnerships we can help to accelerate digital inclusion for the good of society.

MTN has a zero-tolerance approach to all forms of abuse and exploitation, including that of children. We are guided in our efforts by the work of global organisations and law enforcement authorities dedicated to managing this complex matter. We are a signatory to the United Nations Global Compact as well as the GSMA Mobile Alliance Against Child Sexual Abuse. Our partnership with the IWF builds on our commitment to ensure the safety of children online.

“The free, open nature of information and communication technologies, while benefitting society, unfortunately also creates opportunities for people to develop online relationships with vulnerable children, join communities that harm children, and share sexually-abusive material on children. As MTN is expanding the digital sphere, both on the continent and globally, it is important to us that we ensure that all who are touched by our products and services are impacted positively, including children.,” said Rob Shuter, MTN Group CEO and President.

He added, “Online safety is a key concern for our business, it is for this reason that we have partnered with Internet Watch Foundation to create an online community that its safe and from which all users, of all ages, can benefit. Through the partnership, we hope to play our part in the fight against the exploitation of children on the internet and educating children and young people about the safe and responsible usage of ICT.”

“We are making every possible effort to contribute towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal to end all forms of violence against children. We believe that together, we can realise the right of every child to live free from fear, neglect, abuse and exploitation,” he concluded.

The membership agreement will offer support services from IWF to MTN. These include alerts to MTN Group if a domain under MTN’s control is found to host child sexual abuse content. Such domains will be blocked automatically.

Using IWF’s confidential reporting portal, MTN encourages its customers and members of the public to safely and anonymously report online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). IWF will investigate all reports and work with country partner hotlines or international law enforcement agencies to ensure that confirmed cases of child sexual abuse content on the internet are removed at source.

We also use our best endeavours to ensure that MTN’s third party content providers do not make CSAM available to our customers. Providers that offer such content will be considered in breach of their contract, and their contracts will be terminated.

Susie Hargreaves OBE, IWF CEO, said: “We’re delighted that MTN has chosen to demonstrate their commitment to a safer internet for everyone by becoming a member of the Internet Watch Foundation. It’s only thanks to partnerships like these that we’re able to drive forward our mission to eliminate photos and videos of child sexual abuse from the internet. As the largest mobile operator in Africa, MTN’s alliance with the IWF will significantly impact the spread of criminal imagery across the continent and further afield.”

 

MTN delivers steady progress despite challenging conditions in key markets

MTN Group today announced sustained momentum in its results for the 9 months to September 2019 with service revenue growing 9,6% and its EBITDA margin improving by 0,6% to 35,1%. During the quarter the group added 3,5m subscribers and now serves 244 million customers across its 21 markets.

Commenting on the update, MTN Group CEO Rob Shuter said: “Service revenue growth and improvements in our EBITDA margin continued into the third quarter. We remain committed to driving access to internet and financial services and in Q3 we added 4.7 million active data users and 2.2 million Mobile Money subscribers across the portfolio. Our Ayoba messaging platform is now available across five markets and is already recording 515,000 active users per month.”

Overall, solid performances in Nigeria and Ghana offset the headwinds in South Africa, which was impacted by the weaker consumer demand and changes in ICASA’s End User Subscriber Service Charter Regulations which have impacted out-of-bundle (OOB) usage. Notwithstanding these pressures, in the third quarter MTN South Africa saw an improving trend in both prepaid and enterprise service revenues. Consumer post-paid in South Africa remained strong in a competitive market with service revenue growing at 5,8%.

At June 2019 MTN had not recognised R393 million of unpaid revenue from its roaming agreement with Cell C and an impairment of R211 million had also been raised. Since the end of June 2019 to date, Cell C has made payments amounting to nearly R750 million, in line with an agreed payment plan.  MTN has continued its conservative accounting for the Cell C roaming contract and only payments receive during the third quarter were processed, and all against the outstanding balances as at June 2019. We continue to work with Cell C on an expanded network deal and are seeing good progress to date.

Providing an update of the asset realisation programme (ARP) MTN Group CFO Ralph Mupita said: “As at June 2019 we had achieved R2.1bn of the 3-year R15 billion target announced in March this year. We continue to make steady progress in this regard and, following American Towers Corporation’s announcement of its acquisition of Eaton Towers, we are in advanced discussions to dispose of our 49% holdings in ATC Ghana and ATC Uganda which we value at between R7bn and R8bn.

The post IPO lock up period of Jumia, in which we have an 18.9% stake has expired and, as at 29 October, this stake is valued at approximately R1.4 billion. We also continue to await regulatory processes for the redemption of MTN Nigeria preference shares that have a value of $315 million for MTN Group. Finally, Econet’s unsolicited offer to acquire our 53% stake in Mascom has been terminated following certain conditions of the sale not being met.”

The Group expects an improved performance in South Africa in 2020 as the effects of the End User regulation on OOB usage moderate, the enterprise division returns to growth and the Cell C situation stabilises. We are confident that in Nigeria we will maintain service revenue and EBITDA growth in line with the medium-term guidance. This will be delivered as we improve our data revenue performance with increased 4G coverage as we utilise our 800 Mhz spectrum. We are also pushing ahead with our mobile money strategy through the super-agent licence, with 66,282 registered agents currently and a target of 100,000 by year end.

Shuter concludes: “Although conditions have been tougher in the year, we have sustained our performance in 2019 and looking forward, we are focussed on executing our BRIGHT strategy to deliver sustainable growth in our operations and to simplify our portfolio to reduce risk and improve returns. We remain resolute and committed to building our digital operator strategy and delivering on our medium-term targets and dividend policy.

MTN launches Mobile Money API hackathon

In pursuit of its goal to contribute to bridging the financial divide, MTN Group has granted third parties access to its Mobile Money (MoMo) Access Programming Interface (API) platform.

The open API enables developers and programmers to innovate on the platform and develop products and other solutions that will create a wider range of digital financial offerings for MTN’s customers.

To further foster innovation and enhance financial inclusion, MTN is inviting developers and entrepreneurs, across five countries, to participate in the MoMo API Hackathon. The Hackathon, run in partnership with Ericsson (MTN’s MoMo technology partner), will give app developers based in Ghana, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon and Zambia the opportunity to create innovative financial and transactional applications using the MTN MoMo API platform.

“Enhancing financial inclusion through digital technology is an essential element in supporting the continent’s realisation of some of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. We also see this as an opportunity for more tech developers, entrepreneurs and businesses to work with us in bridging the financial divide, whilst also creating ample opportunities for themselves,” said Serigne Dioum, MTN Group Executive for Mobile Financial Services.

This Hackathon further illustrates the essence of the company’s ‘We’re Good Together’ initiative, which celebrates the role that collaboration can play in ensuring that more people enjoy the benefits of a modern connected life. The range of solutions to narrow the financial services gap can only be achieved through various partnerships with entrepreneurs, developers, financial services providers, regulatory authorities, other mobile network operators, merchants, distributors, businesses and technology providers.

About the challenge

  • Developers are required to create a mobile application that uses MTN MoMo APIs, the mobile application needs to target consumers, merchants or businesses.
  • The application must be useful and usable in the market where the applicants have registered and can cover use cases beyond payment but must utilise MTN MoMo APIs.
  •  MTN/Ericsson in each country will select 12 applicants.
  • The preselected applicants will have 2 weeks to develop their ideas.
  • The preselected applicants will need to make a live demo of their application submission.Finalists stand the chance to win up to USD2,500 and one team member will win a trip to Ericsson’s Innovation Lab in Sweden.Hackathon participants can submit their applications via this website: https://momodeveloper.mtn.com/

MTN Group appoints new CEO of MTN Ivory Coast

MTN Group is pleased to announce the appointment of Djibril Ouattara to the position of MTN Ivory Coast CEO, effective 1 November 2019. The appointment follows the departure of former CEO, Freddy Tchala in September.

Djibril is a seasoned executive with experience spanning more than 15 years in telecoms. In his most recent role as CEO of MTN Congo Brazzaville, he made significant strides in delivering on the company’s BRIGHT strategy.

He has implemented a successful turnaround including a network transformation which won MTN Congo Brazzaville the award for ‘best network’ in the country for two consecutive years, and an aggressive Supply and Distribution transformation leading to significant value share growth. Additionally, he led the operation’s mobile money development, achieving 53% penetration rate in two years.

Djibril has worked across Africa, the USA and Europe. Prior to joining MTN he held CEO roles at Canal Plus Ivory Coast and Etisalat-Atlantique Telecom Togo. He holds an MBA from MIT-Sloan School of Management (USA), as well as an Engineering Degree from ENSIA-INSET in Ivory Coast.

Effective 1 November, current MTN Congo Brazzaville Chief Technical and Information Officer (CTIO), Ayham Moussa, will undertake the position of acting CEO for MTN Congo Brazzaville until a permanent appointment is finalised.

MTN Group extends its We’re Good Together initiative and partners with AfroChampions to stimulate Africa’s economic development

MTN Group is supporting AfroChampionssecond conference on Sustainable Green Growth and Industrialisation, taking place in Kigali, Rwanda. The conference which started on 8 October, and concludes on 11 October, aims to encourage collaborations and partnerships that will accelerate the transformation of Africa under the selected topic.

Speaking about this partnership MTN Group President and CEO, Rob Shuter, said: “Since inception 25 years ago, MTN has had the opportunity, together with our host countries and communities, to build a legacy of changing lives within the markets that we operate. Our We’re Good Together initiative celebrates this partnership approach and partnering with AfroChampions is another way in which MTN can play its part in harnessing economic growth in Africa.”

MTN believes in the potential of an Africa whose nations pursue deeper trade, integration and cooperation. Looking forward, the African Continental Free Trade Agreement as well as interventions such as AfroChampions will ensure that the continent operates as a single Africa, building easier trading conditions for businesses and easier movement of goods and services and therefore stimulating economic activity across the continent,” added Shuter.

MTN driving partnerships for a Bright future for the Continent

Celebrating 25 years of Being Good Together

MTN Group today launched its “We’re good together” initiative. This is aimed at demonstrating how, in partnering with our host countries, we can change lives by improving digital access, driving financial inclusion, empowering and enabling SMEs, creating jobs and broad community development, among many others. As a pan African company with roots that are deeply anchored in the continent, MTN is telling its story that doing good business extends far beyond corporate social investment initiatives.

Speaking about the role of MTN on the continent, Group CEO and President Rob Shuter said: “To harness the potential of Africa and ensure our youth are productively employed we need affordable, safe and relevant digital services which are matched with the required digital skills. This in turn will support the global development agenda and national priorities. As one of the major infrastructure investors across Africa, MTN through partnership and collaboration, can accelerate this digital inclusion.”

The global telecommunications industry has made significant progress on the Sustainable Development Goals but more still needs to be done to bridge the digital divide and MTN is prepared to do its part. Since inception 25 years ago MTN has been a significant contributor to the economies and communities within which we operate. A lot of this has been with respect to the infrastructure that is the backbone of the economies that we operate in, and often, that enables connectivity of people in the most remote areas. Our operations have also increasingly become a broader part of the economy through varying efforts including employment creation as well as Mobile Money.
MTN Group Media release

“Over the last 25 years MTN has built high-speed networks covering 560 million people, created jobs for over 5 million people and through MTN Mobile Money connected 30 million people to the benefits of easy, cost-effective mobile financial services across the continent,” said Shuter.

MTN has also worked to use this extensive mobile reach and technology to enable access to education with the goal of promoting and enabling digital teaching and learning. This has been driven by our aim to empower students with the knowledge required to seize opportunities, improve their quality of life and realise their ambitions.

“MTN only succeeds if Africa succeeds. Being a partner in development also means that we have a responsibility to enable the youth to unlock economic opportunities in every country we operate in. We have therefore enhanced our focus on more actively demonstrating what can be achieved if we work together to enable a shared value system and drive a prosperous Africa,” added Shuter.

MTN Group announces leadership changes

MTN Group has announced that current MTN Zambia CEO, Philip van Dalsen will be leaving MTN at the end of September. Philip joined MTN in 2012 as CEO of MTN Cyprus. In January this year, he moved to MTN Zambia in the same capacity.

MTN Rwanda CEO, Bart Hofker, will take over the reins from van Dalsen, effective October. Hofker is a senior commercial telecom executive with extensive experience in mobile, fixed and integrated businesses. MTN also announced that Mitwa Kaemba Ng’ambi has been appointed as the new CEO of MTN Rwanda. Ng’ambi, is a seasoned leader with a career spanning more than 10 years in telecoms and returns to MTN where she previously held the role of Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Benin and several other roles at MTN Zambia.

She has a strong background in commercial and technology with a track-record of driving business strategy for growth, as well as developing high-performing teams. She also has the unique experience of leading mergers and acquisitions in the telecom industry. Ng’ambi joins MTN from Airtel Tigo Ghana, where she held the role of CEO. Prior to which, she was CEO of Tigo Senegal. She has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from the University of Joensuu, Finland and Bachelor of Science Degree in Computer Science from the University of Namibia.

Changes in Cote d’Ivoire

CEO of MTN Cote d’Ivoire Freddy Tchala will be leaving MTN at the end of September. Tchala has been with MTN for 17 years and has had a remarkable journey with the company. After leaving MTN Cameroon, he served as CEO in Guinea Conakry and Congo Brazzaville, before joining MTN Cote d’Ivoire four years ago. MTN will make an announcement in due course regarding a successor to Tchala.

 

Further reading