MTN: Pieter Verkade's 2014 Trends

Before investing in emerging markets, MTN considers a combination of factors including mobile penetration levels, population size, the economic growth of a country and the competitive landscape.

Countries with big populations and low mobile penetration remain attractive. MTN has a keen interest in the Ethiopian market. We have acquired a trade license from the Ethiopia Investment Agency and attained a Value Added Services (VAS) License from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology. MTN is finalising plans to offer bespoke ICT products and services in Ethiopia under the VAS License, which will further stimulate the Ethiopian economy, connect communities and businesses.

Voice traffic has been our driver of sustainable growth up until now, however, within the next decade, people will likely depend on data connectivity. The increased usage of social media in Africa has made smartphones more attractive. As a result mobile operators are introducing more of these into their networks. For example, MTN South Africa recently introduced the iPhone5s and iPhone 5c as well as MTN Steppa, a low cost high performance Android phone.

MTN’s efforts to satisfy the data needs of our customers include, broadening MTN Mobile Money and financial services offerings , growing MTN’s Cloud services, broadening MTN’s Global Multiprotocol Label Switching Virtual Private Network (Global MPLS VPN) as well as developing local entertainment content through offerings such as MTN Play.

MTN’s presence in its markets is about building capacity (infrastructure investment), knowledge sharing (building local leadership), empowerment (socio-economic development and CSI), and wealth distribution (local shareholding). Going forward, we see the Digital World as universal access to digital products and services (especially financial, entertainment and education) which change the way we live our lives for the better.

We are investing heavily in rural connectivity thereby bridging the digital divide on the continent.

Pieter Verkade is the Chief Commercial Officer of MTN Group.

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