MTN Ghana CEO, Selorm Adadevoh has disclosed that the telecom giant has modernized at least 1,322 sites in readiness for 5G network rollout hopefully next year.
He was speaking with journalists at MTN’s Northern Sector Editor’s Forum, where he threw the spotlight on MTN Ghana’s 25 years of brightening lives, its evolving strategy, digital investments and future strategies to brighten lives even more.
The CEO had earlier in the year hinted that the company was gearing up for 5G launch hopefully next year, adding that risk taking is a culture at MTN and that was why they took risks in launching 2G, 3G and 4G even ahead of the availability of devices to drive uptake.
When MTN launched 4G in 2016, there were questions about whether 4G devices were affordable enough for Ghanaians to even access the service. But today 4G has become common in the country. MTN mobile money was met with the same kind of reaction at its launch in 2009, but today MTN mobile money is recording over 1.085 billion transactions in just three months and it is practically the biggest reason government’s financial inclusion agenda is working.
The CEO said in addition to getting ready for 5G network rollout, the company has also upgraded its packet core capacity to 525 gigabits per second, which is designed to power its converged voice and data services on 4G LTE and also effectively deploy and operate one packet network for 2G, 3G and a wide range of other technologies.
Indeed, 5G Packet Core also known as 5G Core (5GC) is the heart of a 5G mobile network, and it handles a wide variety of essential functions in the mobile network, such as connectivity and mobility management, authentication and authorization, subscriber data management and policy management, among others things.
Meanwhile, Selorm Adadevoh revealed that this year alone, the company has invested a whopping US$207 million in network expansion to accommodate the ever-increasing demand for data due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said the company has also built an additional 120 new 2G/3G sites and 607 new 4G sites this year alone. Already, MTN had over that past 25 years mounted 4,100 sites and over 400 rural telephony sites, providing 98 per cent 2G/3G coverage and 73 per cent 4G coverage across the country.
MTN is currently on a journey to become a full digital operator by 2023, empowering and enabling all of its stakeholders to access their services digitally, which will eventually dovetail into its Agenda 2025 strategy designed to make it a platform player rather than a mere service providers.
Agenda 2025 is hinged on five pillars – FinTech solutions (Mobile Money), Digital Services (Ayoba), Enterprise Services (MTN Business), Network as a Service (NaaS) and API Marketplace (Chenosis).
Selorm Adadevoh explained that the focus of Ambition 2025 is to enable startups in Ghana to connect to the MTN platform and provide their own services to their own set of clients outside of MTN, but on revenue share basis.
As a platform player, MTN will provide all the enablers for start ups to innovate, create digital products, scale the digital products, advertise and monetize them, and also be able to save or invest their money digitally, all at a very intentionally minimized cost.
The company is also currently exploring and actually investing in areas of collaboration with the government, including Girls in ICT extended partnership, the ICT Hub Project, Accra Innovation City Project, and the Ghana CARES Framework Support.
Taxes and Jobs
As MTN marches forwards towards creating value for Ghanaian startup via the Agenda 2025 strategy, it continues to make very significant contribution to national development through jobs, huge taxes and investment into social impact projects.
The CEO said currently MTN provides over 500,000 direct and indirect jobs across the industry ecosystem, adding that in 2020 alone, the company paid a whopping GHS2.6 billion in taxes, which is six per cent of the total national tax revenue for the year.
The taxes included GHS389 million communication service tax (CST), which is 70 per cent of the total CST for the year; and GHS101 million National Fiscal Stabilization Levy (NFSL), being 21 per cent of the total.
Beside all the heavy taxes, MTN continued to make huge corporate social investments in the areas of education, health, economic empowerment, culture, entertainment, environment and even media empowerment.
In total, Selorm Adadvoh said MTN has invested over GH₵53.3 million on 152 social impact projects, which is benefiting over four million Ghanaians directly and indirectly.
Of the 152 projects, 87 are education related, 52 are health related, 13 are economic empowerment projects, plus three others, namely Y’ello Care staff volunteer programme, blood donation exercise which raised over 9,560 pints of blood and the MTN Heroes of Change Initiative.
Its several Bright Media Series over the years have also seen several journalists trained in creative writing, the media and the law, digital journalism and other subjects. This year, it is organizing a 25th anniversary Bright Media Awards, which promises to reward deserving journalists with juicy prizes.
Per MTN’s plans for 2022, Selorm Adadevoh said apart from the upcoming 5G network rollout, the company also plans to deepen strategic partnership with government, completely localize the network and mobile money, empower all subscribers to be digital customers and enable them live a digital lifestyle.
The company also plans to further progress technology modernization and build a more resilient network, drive its Fintech offering such as digital payments, savings, investments, insurance and more and also promote an agile way of working.