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MTN devises new measures to sustain market share in Africa


mtnDESPITE cutting off about 5.1 million subscribers in its largest market due to regulatory issues, Africa’s largest wireless operator, MTN still dominates the Nigerian market with about 43 per cent market share.

This is even as the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) firm has revealed plans to sustain and improve its African market fortunes.

To achieve this new investment drive, MTN plans more rural coverage in Africa with Republic of Benin as the first point of contact.

The ICT firm, with presence in over 20 countries across the Middle East and Africa, had last week, lamented that some subscribers in Nigeria, whose mode of Subscribers Identification Number (SIM) registration process were found with some irregularities have been disconnected from the network, said the exercise would impact negatively on its growth projection.

MTN Group in a statement said it had planned to add 14.8 million net subscribers this year, compared with a previous forecast of 16.75 million. The firm claimed that its carrier’s customer base grew 0.9 per cent to 233 million in the three months through September compared with the previous quarter, but had 5.1 million subscribers cut off in Nigeria, its biggest market, at the end of August following checks on personal documents.

According to the Group’s spokesperson, Nik Kershaw, in a Bloomberg report, the company is also facing “ongoing regulatory restrictions” related to its market-leading position in Africa’s most populous country. About 3.4 million of the customers have been reconnected, the company said.

A check on the Nigerian Communications Commission’s site showed that MTN still maintains the leadership position in the country’s $32 billion telecommunications market with about 41 million Internet users, out of the about 94 million users in the country.

The telecommunications firm also controls 43 per cent market share with 64 million subscribers.
In a recent interview with The Guardian, the Nigerian CEO, Michael Ikpoki, had revealed that MTN has invested over $15 billion in the Nigerian economy within the last 13 years of the telecommunications revolution and paid taxes of over N1 trillion. “We have created jobs for lots of partners that you see today, which have had a multiplier effect on the economy. So, we have run a successful business in a very difficult terrain. We don’t see why our quest for wider and improved service delivery should be seen as a threat”, he stated.

On the rural coverage initiative, which it signed with Ericsson, MTN informed that it would take mobile coverage as a service to parts of central and northern Benin where there was none previously.

The telecommunications firm, at the weekend, explained that the initiative, which is ‘managed rural coverage’, is a cost-competitive solution whereby Ericsson enables operators to provide mobile coverage for a set period according to service level agreements and defined key performance indicators. In this case, Ericsson and MTN Benin have signed an agreement for five years.

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