Africa’s biggest telecom operator and digital platform player, MTN Group has gone on record as the first telecom company on the continent to have acquired digital land within the metaverse space.
MTN bought at least 144 plots of digital land in the Africarare metaverse Ubuntuland for an undisclosed sum.
“MTN today became the first African company to enter the metaverse by purchasing land in Africarare,” a statement on MTN Group website said.
Africarare which made its debut in South Africa in October 2021, is the first African Virtual Reality metaverse featuring digital land.
According to MTN, the purchase will see MTN owning 144 plots of virtual land with an overall area of 12x12m.
MTN’s Group Executive for Marketing, Bernice Samuels said, “This is an exciting moment for us as we lead businesses on the continent to enter the metaverse marketplace. This is exactly what our Ambition 2025 strategy is premised on – leveraging trends that amplify consumer’s digital experiences and engagement. We have always been at the forefront of technological and digital changes and we remain alive to the exciting opportunities the metaverse presents for us and our customers’’.
This investment demonstrates MTN’s commitment to supporting African innovation as it is the first company on the continent to support an initiative of this kind. Through its presence in the metaverse, MTN intends to increase its customer attractiveness through a series of experiences merged with consumer passion points, like gaming and music.
Ahead of the purchase, the MTN Group had already started a journey on the back of a new strategy dubbed Ambition 2025, aimed at making the company a complete platform player enabling Africans to realize their dreams.
Ambition 2025 is hinged on five main pillars – Digital (Ayoba), Mobile Finance, API Marketplace (Chenosis), Business Services and Network as a Service (NaaS).
Indeed, the company has just unveiled a new brand identify and the look of its website to reflect its new ambition which promises to drive progress in Africa by empowering young African entrepreneurs to dream, make their dreams a reality and also easily monetize their creativity.
The purchase of digital plots on Ubuntuland is only a demonstration of MTN commitment to deliver on its Ambition 2025 strategy. As part of the journey towards realizing Ambition 2025, MTN Ghana for instance has earmarked 2023 to become a complete digital operator, where all of its customer interactions and services will be digitalized.
Ubuntuland is being developed by Africarare and Mann Made Media and will be open to public land sales later this year. Ubuntuland will showcase some of the best of African art, fashion, entertainment, sport, tech and creativity and will provide a platform for artists from across the continent to showcase their work. Africarare is the first South African metaverse, housing digital land with roots in the African continent. It sold out it’s debut Non-fungible token (NFT) art collection last year for about $50,000.
“We’ve seen an immense amount of growth in the NFT space marketplace and Metaverses across the US, Europe, Asia, there hasn’t been much coming out of Africa. We feel there’s a great opportunity for Africa to take part in this new world.” Mic Mann, co-founder of Africarare said in an interview last year.
This move comes after MTN’s recent brand refresh positioning itself as a technology company, rather than a telecommunications company. “This investment demonstrates MTN’s commitment to supporting African innovation,” the group said in a statement.
Through its presence in the metaverse, MTN intends to increase its customer attractiveness through a series of experiences merged with consumer passion points, like gaming and music,” Bernice Samuels, chief marketing officer at MTN group said.
Alongside MTN, South African advertising agency M&C Saatchi Abel also purchased its own plot of land in the newly created Ubuntuland. Outside Africa, companies like Samsung, Adida and PricewaterhouseCoopers have hopped on the trend too, buying plots of digital land.