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Tech News & Podcast | Africa

MTN showcases 5G technology to drive industrial digitalisation in Africa

MTN has outlined plans to accelerate economic development in Africa through increased utilisation of 5G technologies in mining and other key business and consumer areas.

It came during the recent Uganda – South Africa Investment and Trade Summit held at Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, on 5-6 September, 2023. Hosted by the Ugandan government, the top-level event aims to strengthen bilateral investment and mobilise higher levels of private sector investments into priority sectors in Uganda.

The summit focused on a number of sectors the two governments have identified as important for their future economic co-operation including ICT, agriculture, agro-processing, mining, tourism and manufacturing. Led by SA Trade, Industry and Competition Deputy Minister, Nomalungelo Gina, a high-level trade delegation representing over 65 South African businesses attended the summit.

Key among these was event sponsor MTN, with a number of senior-level executives present, including MTN Group Chairman Mcebisi Jonas, MTN Group President & CEO Ralph Mupita, Group Senior Vice President: Markets Ebenezer Asante, Group Vice President: Southern and East Africa Yolanda Cuba, Group Chief Sustainability and Corporate Affairs Officer Nompilo Morafo, and MTN Uganda CEO, Sylvia Mulinge.

MTN’s technology partner Huawei was also present, holding a number of demonstrations showcasing its innovative practices in 5G to Business and 5G to Consumer. These spanned applications for a range of industries, including 5G for agriculture, 5G for healthcare, 5G for mining, as well as innovative business and consumer-oriented applications such as 360 Live Broadcast, and 5G AR Glasses.

MTN is an established leader in Africa, providing voice, data, fintech, digital, enterprise, wholesale and API services to more than 292 million customers in 19 markets. To date, MTN has announced 5G networks in 6 countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Uganda and Sudan. According to the MyBroadband Insights Q2 2022 Mobile Network Quality Report, MTN South Africa is ranked number one for speed and network quality. In its largest market, Nigeria, MTN operates over 700 5G sites offering coverage . MTN’s target is to increase 5G coverage to 40% of Nigeria’s population by 2025.

Investing in Africa’s Future

MTN is one of the leading companies investing in Africa’s future with active investment projects across the continent.  At the two-day MTN Capital Markets 2023 event, May 31 – June 1, MTN announced that it will increase the commercial use of 5G in mining, manufacturing, logistics and other industries, to expand the scope of commercial use and drive the digitalization process across Africa. The application of 5G in industry not only improves efficiency but also drives the development of Africa’s digital economy.

Huawei is a strategic partner with MTN and together, they have implemented a number of large-scale commercial applications for 5G.  For example, MTN South Africa cooperated with Huawei and Minetec Smart Mining to build the first 5G-connected coal mine in South Africa. In addition, MTN Uganda has cooperated with Huawei and the HIMA Cement Company to launch Uganda’s first 5G industrial use case.

One of MTN’s most recent major investments is in Ghana, where it already holds a market leadership position in 4G. In July 2023, MTN announced that it will exceed the original 1BLN USD investment target set in 2021 by 2026, as it transitions networks to 5G, supported by Huawei.  

MTN Ambition 2025 Strategy

Launched in 2021, MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy sets out a strategic vision to harness the power of MTN’s leading brand, footprint, connectivity infrastructure and technology platforms to deliver leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress. Supported and funded through enhanced cost and capex efficiencies, the strategy is anchored in building the largest and most valuable platform business with a clear focus on Africa.

MTN is accelerating implementation through partnerships. Together with Huawei, MTN has identified a number of 5G private network use cases that it will develop by 2025:

Mining – The 5G Oriented Mine

  • Collision avoidance
  • Vehicle monitoring

Manufacturing – Real-Time Automation

  • Remote control robots
  • Predictive maintenance
  • AI-driven quality inspection

Logistics – Health – Education

  • Smart campus
  • AR/VR
  • Drones for scanning

ESG Strategy

The commitment to 5G development echoes MTN’s ESG strategy, also a key component of Ambition 2025, which continues to create additional economic value for Africa.

MTN and Huawei signed an ESG MOU during MWC 2023, committing the signatories to delivering on a range of targets covering eco-responsibility, sustainable societies and sound governance. Both companies are determined to create value for Africa through carbon emission reduction, rural network coverage, and talent training, further accelerating the achievement of MTN’s ESG strategy.

According to the sustainability report released by MTN, the group has created 149BN Rand of economic value through its own network investment, job creation, technology empowerment, and enterprise transformation. These reflect MTN’s Ambition 2025 strategy, to deliver leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress, harnessing the power of MTN, and its leading brand, footprint, connectivity infrastructure, and technology platforms.

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