The telecoms sectors of emerging markets have evolved rapidly and in step with their counterparts in more developed countries, and consumers demand similarly high standards. It is therefore vital for operators in these regions to deliver on network performance.
Pan-African group MTN currently operates in over 20 countries across Africa and Asia. Headquartered in its home market of South Africa, the group has long sought to push the envelope in terms of expectations of African markets, and it has achieved demonstrable success; according to two recent reports, the operator offers the best network performance in South Africa.
Based on 375,577 speed tests, MyBroadband Insights’ Q4 2021 Mobile Network Quality Report rank MTN as having the highest upload and download speed in the market. According to the research firm, MTN Group’s substantial network investments have led to it dominating the South African network performance rankings for the past few years.
Meanwhile, Rohde & Schwarz SwissQual’s Network Performance Score findings also rated MTN as having the best network quality and performance in South Africa, as well as offering the best data services.
MTN South Africa executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan said: “The quality of experience delivered to our customers is very important to MTN. We are consistently working to upgrade and modernise our network infrastructure to ensure customers enjoy the best user experience, and results such as these work to help us benchmark ourselves against the quality and competitive position of other networks, using the scores as a basis to deliver optimal quality of experience to our customers.”
“For us, a high-performing network means connecting the previously unconnected; enhanced connectivity for those already connected; and more digital opportunities for all, enabling customers to take advantage of the range of applications that are available on the market today – and we will keep working to ensure this access continues,” she added, noting that MTN South Africa plans to invest over R50 billion into its network across the next five years.
Having secured a leading position across its footprint, MTN Group is dedicated to ensuring that it continues to offer the best network experiences, emphasised in its ambition to deliver “Technology platforms second to none”. The group currently has 10 operating units with the top network NPS (net promoter score) in their market – including its South African, Nigerian, Ugandan, Ghanaian, Cameroonian and Zambian units – and it aims to increase this to 17 operators by 2025.
With ‘Technology platforms second to none’, MTN aims to offer one network, one API layer and one data lake to enable the success of the core business & growth platforms. This will deliver superior customer experience, improving loyalty and therefore customer retention and lifetime value, as well as broadening its commercial addressable base. These strategies are aimed at supporting structurally sustainable growth.
These goals stem from the group’s belief that consumers in emerging markets deserve the benefits of a modern connected life just as much as those in developed markets – and indeed, they stand to gain even more from being connected. The impact of digital and financial inclusion in Africa is evident, and MTN is committed to further this, advancing the attainment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through its core business activities and its support to governments, communities and customers.
The group is pursuing initiatives focused around the value that telecommunications can bring to various levels of society – whether this is via eco-responsibility, sustainable societies or governance and economic value. One recent example is MTN South Africa’s Modernisation of Network South Africa (Monza) project, which aims to deploy an additional 100 rural sites nationally in highly underserved areas by the end of 2022. Providing network and connectivity services to people in the most remote rural settlements of South Africa, and across all provinces, will greatly improve access to data for those not yet connected and improve the customer experience of MTN’s network.
In the long-term, this will close the digital access gaps in South Africa and other markets, driving digital and financial inclusion, access to education, and opening the door to new and exciting opportunities for individuals, communities and regional economies to grow.
For operators in emerging markets, MTN’s strong business performance can be seen as an indication of the value in pursuing such strategies. The group’s 2021 results showed increases in revenue from services, data and fintech, as well as a 2.6% increase in return on equity to 19.6%. MTN Group’s share price also topped R200/share in early March, which is the first time the JSE-listed emerging markets telecommunications giant has touched these levels in nearly seven years.
Leading brand valuation consultancy Brand Finance’s South Africa 100 2022 report stated that MTN has retained the number one place on the ranking of the most valuable South African brands in the world, with a brand value of R59.8 billion - almost two times that of the second placed company.
Jeremy Sampson, Managing Director at Brand Finance Africa, summarised MTN’s position thus: “South African brands are powering our economy, and as the world looks towards life after COVID-19, MTN has cemented its leadership role as our most valuable brand. MTN’s brand value has grown considerably. With the current refresh of the brand, it is well positioned and reenergised for the future.”