At the maiden MTN Ghana 25th Anniversary Bright Media Awards, Techgh24 Managing Editor, Sammy Dowuona emerged the overall Best Journalist. The charge was to tell a story that speaks to the topic – MTN Ghana, 25 Years of Brightening Lives, in just a thousand words. Below is the award winning story Sammy told about the digital impact MTN has made in Ghana over the last 25 years.
The abiding brand tagline of MTN is “Everywhere you go”. It encapsulates a vision and mission to churn out products, services, innovations, events and social projects that are ubiquitous and pervasive, not only geographically, but also in its impact on the lives of the people in MTN’s area of operations.
Over the past 25 years, MTN Ghana has practically lived the brand promise so well, it has become almost herculean to attempt to tell the full story of its impact in just a few words. At the recent MTN Editor’s Forum, MTN Ghana CEO, Selorm Adadevoh stated that MTN now has 98% 2G/3G coverage and 73% 4G coverage with over 4,100 sites and an additional 400 plus dedicated sites for rural telephony. In terms of social projects, MTN has spent over GHS53.3 million on 152 projects in education (87), health (52), economic empowerment (13) and some three staff volunteer projects over the period.
As the world, and indeed Ghana advances towards complete digitalization, MTN is again proving to be a leader on that front, not only by partnering government to deliver on its digital transformation agenda, but also by investing heavily to build a completely digital network with a vision to become a full Digital Operator by 2023. At the core of that vision is a commitment to further brighten the lives of Ghanaians by ensuring each of their over 25 million customers are empowered to live “a digital lifestyle”.
MTN’s Digital Operator mission forms part of a bigger Group strategy dubbed Agenda 2025, designed to make MTN a Platform Player by 2025. A platform player, according to the CEO, means MTN will become more than just a service provider; it will be a place where existing corporates and new startups can plug in and create digital products, advertise and monetize their products at a very minimal fee intentionally designed to assist startups.
MTN Ghana has therefore been investing heavily in its network and into digital channels over the years in pursuit of these bright digital goals. As MTN moves towards making life easier for its customers via digitalization, it has also made it a practice to even reward customers when they use the digital channels on MTN, as opposed to using the traditional channels. For instance, in the ongoing MTN Ghana @25 Promo, customers who use digital channels get 10 points for every transaction, while traditional channels only fetch a point. It can’t get any brighter than that.
Prior to commencing the rollout of the Agenda 2025 elements such as Ayoba, Chenosis, Network as a Service (Naas), Enterprise Services and Fintech, MTN had maintained digital channels like MyMTN, MTN Pulse, the Mobile Money App and even social media platforms where customers can conveniently do self-service and or interact with customer service persons.
MyMTN, which is a free-to-use one-stop-shop app for everything MTN Ghana, allows customers to access mobile money services, and to buy mobile/broadband data and airtime. The icing on the cake is that it offers 50% data bonus for 4G customers who use MoMo to buy data. The first page of the app displays airtime, data and broadband balances, which is more convenient than using the traditional USSD channels to request for that information.
The app is ably supported by the a dedicated MTN MoMo App, which also allows customers to do everything mobile mobile such as bills payment, airtime and data purchase, shopping and other transactions.
The MyMTN app also allows customers to access MTN Ayoba, download and play games, participate in an in-app trivia called “Hottseat” and win instant prizes, stream videos on Iroko TV, movies on Showmax, watch live TV on 2CTV, and even sign up for device insurance. MyMTN is available on both Android and iOS and it currently records over 800,000 active users monthly, according to the CEO.
But MTN is taking its passion for brightening people’s lives to another level by investing into another free-to-use African super-app called Ayoba. The award-winning Ayoba is an app of apps. It houses several MTN micro-apps such as myMTN, MoMo App, Live-chat and Heritage Ghana. It currently has over one million users in Ghana, and promises to be the platform where app developers in Ghana can have easy access to millions across the continent and brighten the lives of many more as they also earn good revenue to innovate more and brighten their own lives.
MTN did not stop at investing money into Ayoba; it actually took the commitment a step further by organizing the MTN Ayoba Hackathon, where 200 young Ghanaian app developers were given the opportunity to pitch their apps and win prizes, get expert input into making their apps better and then ultimately get their apps placed on the Ayoba super-app to reach a wider market. Even though only three won prizes, the final five will also have their apps placed on Ayoba, and the 200 also benefitted from expert mentoring to grow their apps better.
Again, beyond Ayoba, MTN has also introduced a digital API Marketplace dubbed Chenosis, where startups in Ghana and across Africa are given access to the MTN mobile money API to monetize their digital products on websites and on other online platforms, to receive payments directly at an agreed very minimal fee. Chenosis also gives remote access to MTN’s SIM swap verification API by several other partners across Ghana and Africa.
This year alone, MTN Ghana has invested a whopping US$207 million dollars into its network to continue to boost its digital offerings and data capacity to access the digital platforms, particularly in the face of the ever-increasing data demand due to Covid-19. So, it is obvious MTN will stop at nothing to deliver on its promise to brighten people lives through strategic investment to become a digital operator and eventually a platform player.
By the way, MTN has modernized 1,322 sites in readiness for 5G rollout next year. It can’t get any brighter than that.