Tag: Network as a service

MTN marks three decades of operations, celebrating a legacy of connecting people, changing lives, and driving economic growth across South Africa and the African continent.

“As we reflect on this significant milestone, we express our sincere gratitude to all our stakeholders, past and present, across multiple jurisdictions, for their support,” said MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer Ralph Mupita. “We couldn’t have achieved this remarkable success without you.”

Since its inception in 1994, MTN has evolved from a small South African start-up with 20 employees into a global telecommunications leader, employing over 17,500 individuals representing more than 70 nationalities across 18 diverse markets.

In South Africa, MTN’s impact has been profound. The company’s network now reaches 97% of the population, providing a foundation for digital inclusion and economic empowerment. By investing in cutting-edge technologies like 4G and 5G, MTN has ensured that South Africa remains at the forefront of technological advancement. A recent study by KPMG showed that MTN South Africa’s contribution to the country’s GDP is substantial, making it a key player in the national economy.

The evolution of handsets and the proliferation of apps have democratised access to information and essential services, from financial solutions to healthcare, education, and entertainment. This has been a game-changer for individuals and businesses alike.

MTN’s influence extends far beyond South Africa. In 2023, the MTN Group recorded over R220 billion (more than US$11 billion) in revenue, a testament to its market leadership and the growing demand for digital services across Africa. This success has driven the company’s market capitalisation to over R150 billion, solidifying its position as one of the continent’s most valuable companies.

Across Africa, MTN connects millions, empowering them with essential communication tools and access to vital services. More than 149 million people rely on MTN’s network for data access, fuelling a digital transformation that is reshaping industries and societies. Additionally, MTN Mobile Money (MoMo) provides over 65 million individuals with access to financial services, driving financial inclusion and economic empowerment in underserved communities.

MTN’s commitment to socio-economic development is evident everywhere. In 2023, the Group’s total tax contribution to governments across markets was nearly R62 billion (over US$3.3 billion), supporting vital public services and infrastructure development. MTN’s operations also generated some R159 billion in economic value, creating jobs, stimulating economic activity, and fostering digital innovation.

From the outset, the Group has been driven to make a social impact. Launched in 2001, the first MTN Foundation had an annual budget of R22 million. In 2023, MTN spent ten times that – R220 million – in corporate social responsibility across markets, with a special focus on developing digital skills to enable the digital economy.

Furthermore, both MTN Group and MTN South Africa have achieved Level 1 Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment status, underscoring their commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social transformation.

MTN’s dedication to giving back is embodied in the annual “21 Days of Y’ello Care” initiative, which has been extended to 30 days this year to commemorate the 30th anniversary. Kicking off on 01 June 2024 under the theme “Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow: Education for Rural and Remote Communities,” this initiative mobilises MTN employees across the continent to dedicate their time and resources to enhance educational opportunities. This year, the focus is on bridging the educational divide in rural and remote areas, providing digital learning tools, and supporting educational infrastructure to empower the next generation of leaders within these communities.

MTN’s 30-year journey is a testament to the transformative power of technology and the unwavering spirit of innovation. Looking to the future, MTN remains dedicated to bridging the digital divide, empowering individuals and communities, and driving Africa’s sustainable and inclusive progress through cutting-edge digital solutions.

MTN Group reported a resilient underlying operating performance for 2023 in the face of tough macro headwinds, declaring a total dividend of 330 cents per share. Inflation remained elevated in several key markets and the sharp devaluation of the Nigerian naira impacted reported results for both MTN Nigeria and MTN Group.

Amid sustained high demand for data and fintech services, MTN Group increased the number of active data subscribers by more than 9% to 150 million – half the total subscriber base – and active Mobile Money (MoMo) users by 5% to 72.5 million. Total subscribers increased to 295 million across the Group’s markets.

In the year to end-December 2023, data traffic on MTN’s networks (excluding joint ventures) grew by more than a third, with usage up to an average of more than 6GB per user per month. To sustain this growth, as well as network coverage and quality, MTN deployed capital expenditure (excluding leases) of R41 billion in the year.

The volume of fintech transactions also increased by around a third to 17.6 billion, with the value of transactions across the fintech platform up at US$272 billion, driven by growth of advanced services in payments, banktech and remittance solutions.

In South Africa, where the business faced loadshedding challenges, subsidiary MTN South Africa deployed R10 billion of capex to drive network capacity expansion and power resilience. More than R2.6 billion of this was investment in power and security resilience. By the end of the year, network availability across the entire network reached around 95%. For the sites where we had completed our resilience investment, we recorded network availability of more than 98%.

MTN South Africa reported solid growth in the consumer postpaid, enterprise and wholesale businesses. In the second half of the year there were also sequential improvements in the consumer prepaid business.

Strategic delivery
In the year, MTN Group made good strategic progress in the development of our fintech and fibre businesses. A key highlight was concluding an agreement for payment network processor Mastercard to invest up to US$200 million for a minority stake in MTN Group Fintech at a valuation of US$5.2 billion.

We are excited about this partnership, particularly the commercial agreements, which we expect to support the accelerated growth of our fintech business,” said MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita. “In 2023, we also advanced our work to structurally separate the fibre business, Bayobab, with engagements to secure regulatory clearances in key markets being the main priority.”

In the year, Bayobab and Africa50 partnered to develop Project East2West, a terrestrial fibre optic cable network to help bridge Africa’s connectivity gap by improving broadband access for the continent’s landlocked countries in particular.

Among the Group’s other strategic progress highlights were the 13.1% absolute reduction in Scope 1 and 2 emissions. This is part of our environmental commitment to reach Net Zero emissions by 2040. We also finalised the sale of MTN Afghanistan, which completed the Group’s exit of our consolidated subsidiaries in the Middle East.

Resilient results
In the year, MTN Group’s finances withstood a challenging external environment, marked by elevated inflation (averaging a blended 16.7%), forex volatility and paucity, and ongoing political tensions in some markets, most notably in Sudan.

In constant currency terms, MTN Group service revenue grew 13.5% to R210 billion, with data revenue making up R84 billion and voice revenue contributing R83 billion. Fintech revenue totalled R21 billion.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation grew by almost 10% in constant currency terms to R90 billion. The Group delivered expense efficiencies of R2.6 billion and kept key debt ratios within covenant levels.

Outlook and priorities
Looking ahead, Mupita said MTN remained focused on executing on Ambition 2025: sustaining operational momentum, accelerating the platforms strategy, driving expense and capital efficiencies, and continuing to strengthen the balance sheet.

We are anticipating that the macro conditions in our trading environment will persist in 2024, with naira volatility and elevated inflation the key challenges we will need to navigate. MTN plans to invest R35-39 billion in 2024 to position the company to capture the structural demand for data and fintech services across Africa,” he said.

We maintain our overall medium-term guidance framework, however simplifying our objective for fintech,” Mupita said, adding that MTN was encouraged by the outlook for the fintech business, given the solid growth in advanced services. “The partnership with Mastercard positions the business well to scale faster and we are excited about the commercial launches of card issuance, acceptance and remittances across the footprint.

As of 19 March 2024, Bayobab Group, a subsidiary of MTN Group, has successfully restored its operations, recovering over 3 Terabits per second (Tbps) of capacity across our footprint.

Although the recent subsea cable disruptions on 14 March 2024 presented challenges, we have demonstrated our capabilities to maintain a resilient network and efficiently reroute traffic.

Throughout this challenging period, we prioritised the restoration of services by swiftly activating new cables to increase inter-connectivity and establish alternative routes, thereby bolstering our network resilience.

This approach solidifies our commitment to prioritising network reliability, and our dedication to connecting Africa and our customers as quickly as possible marking the final stretch toward connecting all our valued customers. Bayobab’s ecosystem facilitates secure and scalable global traffic within Africa and the rest of the world serving 19 MTN markets, third-party Mobile Network Operators, Technology corporations and other Telecoms Service Providers.

MTN Group’s Bayobab is working with its partners on the coordination of repair work to damaged underwater digital communication cables along the West Coast of Africa.

As confirmed by their consortium partners, on 14 March 2024 four subsea cables were cut. They are WACS, ACE, SAT3 and MainOne.

Bayobab is also working with partners to mitigate the impact of the damage by rerouting traffic and enabling more circuits.

ACE and WACS have jointly initiated the repair process by mobilising a cable ship for a collaborative repair effort. While investigation and repair efforts are underway, Bayobab’s strategy focuses on successfully rerouting traffic, leveraging our extensive network, and collaborating with industry partners.

Our network resiliency allows for the swift activation of new cables, facilitating faster rerouting and bolstering network resilience. By activating new cables, we quickly increase interconnectivity and establish alternative routes.

Additionally, we are working with the cable consortiums and partners to enhance interconnection along both the west and east coasts, with further interconnections between WACS and Equiano, and the introduction of the end-to-end connection between WACS on the west coast and EASSy on the east coast.

We have already made progress in restoring service in some affected regions and remain committed to achieving full recovery as expeditiously as possible.

Recognising the critical importance of network reliability, we work to continuously strengthen our infrastructure to mitigate future disruptions.

We sincerely appreciate your understanding and patience during this period.

Bayobab Group acknowledges the ongoing disruptions affecting connectivity services in several West African countries, due to breaks in multiple major undersea cables. Recognising the critical importance of consistent internet and communication services, we are fully committed to swiftly addressing these disruptions.

To mitigate the impact on our customers in the affected countries, our operations are actively working to reroute traffic through alternative network paths and engaging with our consortium partners to expedite the repair process for the damaged cables. Leveraging our robust and resilient network infrastructure, we aim to minimise service interruptions and maintain connectivity.

We thank you for your patience and understanding as we work diligently to resolve this situation.

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and MTN Group (JSE: MTN) have renewed their partnership for continued delivery to MTN of two flagship products from the Ericsson Business and Operations Support Systems portfolio, Ericsson Charging and Ericsson Mediation. These solutions are integrated with Ericsson Dynamic Activation (EDA) from the Ericsson Network Management portfolio. As part of the partnership, Ericsson will provide these solutions for the next 5 years across MTN’s pan-African market.

The partnership includes the modernisation of MTN Group’s Business Support Systems (BSS) ecosystem, enabling best-in-class features and capabilities that support exploring monetisation streams and new business models, such as 5G and Internet of Things (IoT).

This partnership plays a significant role in advancing MTN Group’s cloud-native transformation, fostering continued growth and aligning with the accelerated implementation of MTN Group’s Ambition 2025 strategy, which aims to build one of the largest and most valuable platforms utilising connectivity and infrastructure businesses for both mobile and fixed access networks across the consumer, enterprise, and wholesale segments.

With this agreement, MTN will continue using Ericsson Charging, Ericsson Mediation and Ericsson Dynamic Activation as part of the overall BSS landscape. With the ongoing support from Ericsson, MTN will have a robust base from which to grow and scale its services across Africa, capturing and securing revenue streams, enhancing billing accuracy and granularity, supporting new services, delivering revenue assurance, and enabling data monetization through preparation for analytics and IoT.

Mazen Mroue, MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Officer, shares: “We continue looking to elevate our technological infrastructure and offer pioneering services in our markets to our customers while achieving cost efficiency through our expansive scale. The sustained collaboration with Ericsson has been instrumental in promoting innovation, standardisation and enhancing operational efficiency. The recent agreement with Ericsson marks a significant milestone, enabling MTN to tap into the transformative power of cloud computing, driving us towards the objectives outlined in our Ambition 2025 strategy. This strategic move underscores our commitment to embracing innovative technologies that enhance customer experience and drive sustainable growth.”

Hossam Kandeel, Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit MTN and Customer Unit MTN Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa, says: “As we continue to evolve and expand our partnership with MTN Group, we are committed to collaborating and providing the latest technology solutions that will help MTN operating companies to capture and secure revenue streams while delivering improved services to their customers. Our Business and Operations Support Systems portfolio is designed to provide the flexibility and agility communication service providers need to respond to changing customer demands. We are happy to sign this contract and support MTN Group in delivering superior service experiences, creating new business models for 5G, and driving digitalisation across Africa.”

Ericsson’s agile, flexible, robust, and resilient Business and Operations Support Systems and Network Management portfolios uniquely position MTN Group to unlock new revenue streams and capitalise on emerging opportunities in both consumer and enterprise markets. This multi-year partnership is a strong foundation for continued growth and success in the years to come.

Ericsson (NASDAQ: ERIC) and MTN Group (JSE: MTN) have agreed to modernise the core network of MTN’s affiliates in South Africa and Nigeria over five years in line with MTN Group’s MTN Unified Cloud Acceleration (MUNA) principles and objectives.The agreement was concluded recently, where the companies agreed on key strategic priorities and collaborations, underscoring both companies’ shared vision and commitment to fortify their long-term partnership.

Building on existing and successful partnerships for cloud-native core network deployment with Ericsson in both countries, the modernisation will ensure the readiness of MTN Nigeria’s and MTN South Africa’s network infrastructures to enable 5G standalone in the future. The modernised core networks will be powered by Ericsson’s cloud-native dual-mode 5G Core, and will enable MTN Group to achieve its objectives in Nigeria and South Africa of delivering innovative solutions for both consumers and enterprises in Africa.

Mazen Mroué, MTN Group Chief Technology and Information Officer says: “We are embarking on a strategic transformation program to modernise and upgrade our core network infrastructure, signifying a commitment to enhancing network performance and efficiency in respective markets. This collaboration is a key milestone for our Ambition 2025 to set new benchmarks in connectivity excellence, leveraging cuttingedge technologies to deliver superior customer experiences and innovation.”

The modernisation efforts in Nigeria align with national broadband goals and MTN’s strategic objectives. Mohammed Rufai, MTN Nigeria Chief Technical Officer says: ”The network upgrade is geared towards enhancing our core network. When completed, it will further accelerate broadband penetration in alignment with the Federal Government’s Broadband plan. This expansion is also in line with our strategic priorities – building the largest and most valuable platforms, driving industry-leading connectivity operations, creating shared value and accelerating portfolio transformation.”

MTN South Africa’s modernisation journey benefits significantly from this partnership, Rami Farah, MTN South Africa Chief Technology Officer shares: “Ericsson has been MTN SA’s network infrastructure partner for several years. This new partnership is an extension of what has been achieved by both parties over the years. The partnership will enable MTN SA to modernise further and upgrade the core mobile network in line with MTN Group Unified Cloud Acceleration principles and objectives which will ensure the readiness of our network infrastructure to support the strong data growth and enable 5G standalone in the future.”

From Ericsson’s perspective, the partnership with MTN Group is a testament to a shared ethos of innovation and progress. Representing Ericsson, Hossam Kandeel, Vice President and Head of Global Customer Unit MTN and Customer Unit MTN Africa at Ericsson Middle East and Africa says: “Our partnership with MTN Group is based on innovation and progress. Together, we are shaping the future of digital connectivity in Africa with the modernisation of MTN Nigeria and MTN South Africa’s core networks. We aim to drive this influence across the entire continent, ensuring technological advancement and bringing communities closer in the digital age in line with Ericsson’s #AfricaInMotion vision.”

The MUNA principles and objectives are pivotal to MTN’s PACE technology strategy to accelerate the execution of MTN’s Ambition 2025 by transforming MTN’s network infrastructure into a modern, agile, and cloud-native core network. This transformation will empower MTN to offer innovative services to its customers, enhancing operational efficiency, driving growth, and enabling a better customer experience.

MTN Group and Huawei signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a Joint Innovation Technology Lab, aiming to deepen cooperation in technological innovation. The signing ceremony, which held at MWC Barcelona, Spain was attended by senior delegations from MTN and Huawei.

This strategic partnership will see the creation of an Innovation Technology Lab at MTN Group’s headquarters in South Africa. The lab will serve as a neutral platform for collaboration within the Africa’s digital ecosystem, accelerating the development, deployment and adoption of innovative digital solutions driven across the continent.

Together, the two companies will leverage this initiative to focus their research and development efforts on key areas such as 5G and beyond, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data analytics, cloud computing, and digital financial services. The partnership aims to accelerate the time-to-market of MTN’s products and services while addressing the unique challenges faced in Africa, including improving network coverage in rural areas, enhancing energy efficiency, and affordability.

Additionally, MTN’s operational teams will actively participate in the innovation process, ensuring the solutions developed directly address real-world challenges and drive meaningful digital transformation and sustainable development in Africa.

Group Chief Technology and Information Officer Mazen Mroue expressed his enthusiasm about the partnership stating, “The Joint Innovation Technology Lab is more than a partnership between two companies; it’s an investment in the growth of Africa’s digital ecosystem. We believe that collaboration is essential for developing solutions that truly meet the continent’s needs, and this Lab will pave the way for a more inclusive, sustainable, and prosperous future for Africa.”

Li Peng, Huawei’s Corporate Senior Vice President and President of ICT Sales & Service, said, “Huawei will continue innovating with MTN to ensure they have the products and solutions required to best serve Africa’s unique market. This will not only give MTN a competitive edge in terms of network quality, user experience, and rapid deployment, but also help MTN achieve their own business objectives. We believe that this newly-established lab will help supercharge both MTN’s R&D as well as Africa’s digital economy, bringing more prosperity to the African continent.”

This partnership further demonstrates MTN and Huawei’s shared commitment to shaping Africa’s digital landscape, opening new pathways for innovation and digital inclusion, and economic growth.

Dedicated to leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress, MTN Group committed to investing US$215 million in infrastructure in Benin over the next three years and building a state-of-the-art office for subsidiary MTN Benin.

These pledges were made during an MTN Group leadership visit to Cotonou, the highlight of which was a meeting with His Excellency President Patrice Talon attended by MTN Group President and CEO Ralph Mupita, MTN Benin Chairman Amadou Raimi, Senior Vice President for Markets Ebenezer Asante, MTN Benin CEO Uche Ofodile and MTN Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo.

“MTN works to be a force for good in our markets, giving Africans hope, dignity and opportunity,” said Mupita. “We are grateful for the warm reception received in Benin, where we have trialled 5G services and see opportunities to progress this.”

“We are committed to the development and upskilling of the Beninese youth and have made clear our desire to partner with the government and other stakeholders in this regard,” he added.

The President thanked members of the MTN delegation for their commitment and looked forward to future collaboration as MTN Benin – with some eight million subscribers – marks a quarter of a century of operations.

Leveraging intelligent coverage and capacity-based analytics, Unison FWA enables MTN’s sales representatives with real-time insights on the most suitable packages for each customer’s specific needs and location. This ensures that customers receive optimal service at competitive prices with adequate coverage.

Effective subscriber management enables MTN to maintain network stability and better optimise resource allocation, contributing to a more reliable and consistent user experience for all. Furthermore, by safeguarding revenue streams, MTN can continue to invest in network infrastructure and service enhancements.

Amith Maharaj, Executive Network Design and Planning at MTN, expressed, “Our collaboration with WIM Technologies exemplifies our dedication to providing customers with exceptional FWA services. With enhanced network governance, personalised package recommendations, and optimised network performance, MTN’s customers can anticipate a superior home internet experience.”

Anshul Malhotra, CEO of WIM Technologies at WIM Technologies, echoed this sentiment, adding, “We are thrilled to partner with MTN to elevate their FWA offerings. Unison FWA represents our commitment to empowering telecommunications providers with innovative solutions that enhance customer satisfaction and network performance.”

This partnership further solidifies MTN’s position as a leading provider of digital solutions dedicated to driving Africa’s progress. With the introduction of Unison FWA, MTN’s home broadband customers can look forward to a superior and unrivalled experience characterised by reliability, consistency, and personalised service.