MTN Group said yesterday that it had rolled out a total of 100,000 kilometers of terrestrial fiber footprint across its market operations in a bid to extend affordable broadband services to underserved communities.
MTN Group Consumer Executive, Enzo Scarcella, who revealed this, said it was part of MTN’s multi-pronged approach to accelerating the digital inclusion of marginalized groups for people living in rural areas, especially the older people, women and youth, and to foster broader socio-economic development.
Scarcella said the aim is to deliver on the company’s strategic intent – Ambition 2025: Cutting-edge digital solutions for Africa’s progress – to ensure that everyone in MTN’s markets can reap the benefits of a modern connected life with its CHASE broadband coverage.
“Providing a quality broadband network is essential, but not sufficient: there are various other interventions needed to ensure that no one is left behind. People also need 3G-enabled devices; affordable data; relevant service offerings; as well as education to equip them with the skills to make the most of all that the mobile internet has to offer,” said Scarcella.
To ensure sufficient coverage in rural areas, in 2021 MTN increased the number of deployment partners and introduced new partnership models, deploying 912 rural sites. This extended coverage to over 23 million people in rural areas, up from 8.5 million in 2020. By the end of 2021, MTN’s total broadband coverage was 83% of the population.
Through MTN Global Connect, we have continued to build the infrastructure to connect African countries with each other and with the rest of the world. We have deployed more than 15,000 km of terrestrial fiber, bringing our total footprint to 100,000 km, Scarcella added.
To increase the affordability of data services, in 2021 we reduced our effective data rate by 15.3%. To test affordability in line with UN and ECOWAS guidelines, we compared MTN data pricing across operations. We found that 11 MTN markets have data prices that fall within the UN’s recommended affordability range.
To increase affordability and customer access to data-enabled devices, in 2021 we placed 3.1 million 3G and 4G devices in the hands of our customers. We have increased the number of suppliers we source handsets from and have agreements with, ensuring customers can access after-sales service. We also offered an MTN-endorsed device that is 20% cheaper than a comparable handset.
By partnering with M-KOPA, we have supported device financing for our customers in Uganda and Ghana. In 2022, we are expanding this to Nigeria and Zambia.
“CHASE clearly defines the work we need to do and helps keep everyone focused on MTN,” Scarcella said, adding that extending digital and financial inclusion across the African continent also supports the group’s strategic priority. to create shared value. “No one should be left behind, regardless of location, age or socio-economic status.”