MTN South Africa was launched in 1994 after it received a license to roll out its GSM network the previous year.
MTN South Africa is part of MTN Group Limited, a multi-national telecommunications company that boasts over 152 million subscribers across its company with operations in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
MTN Group Limited is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) under the share code ‘MTN’ and enjoys approximately 37% of market share in South Africa. The company provides voice, data and telemetry offerings and solutions to its 20 million customers in South Africa.
About 60% of MTN South Africa’s population is covered by 3G network technology, covering speeds of up to 42Mbps, while over 98% has 2G and Edge coverage
MTN has always being at the forefront of innovation. In 1996, MTN was the first company to pioneer the prepaid solution and is the first company to launch the highly acclaimed MTN Zone, the dynamic tariffing billing system.
Following the introduction of the enhanced MTN Zone and prepaid data offerings among others, MTN’s prepaid customers have soared to over 20 million customers.
While South Africa has around 130% market penetration, MTN South Africa’s ability to maintain growth in the prepaid segment, run a reliable network and distribution service; are some critical factors behind the company’s ongoing success.
Also, over time a great deal of attention has been paid to ensuring that appropriate products and services are marketed to well-targeted customer categories.
Recently the company has successfully consolidated the various voice bearer interfaces to internet protocol thereby improving scalability and network simplicity from a backbone perspective. MTN has also invested a significant amount of capital in building its own backbone and transmission infrastructure.
MTN has invested substantially in submarine cables to improve broadband capacity and give its customers a world class internet. MTN is the single biggest investor in the West Africa Cable System (WACS), a submarine cable that links South Africa and the west coast of Africa with Europe.
MTN South Africa has also invested in the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), a fiber optic cable system that links South Africa and the east coast of Africa with Europe.
In July 2013, MTN South Africa reaffirmed its technological leadership by announcing a pilot of the Long Term Evolution (LTE) network around Gauteng. The pilot is the largest LTE rollout of its scale in Africa and spans the business hub of Gauteng with over 100 sites.
As a caring and responsible corporate citizen, MTN has put in place measures to ensure that its carbon footprint is reduced Being aware of the negative impact of climate change in its operations, MTN South Africa has embarked on an extensive greening initiative that reduces its energy consumption.
For example, MTN has built a methane powered tri-generation plant, the first of its kind in Africa, which provides power to its head office in Johannesburg.
In the remote village of Riemvasmaak in the Northern Cape, MTN built two off-grid wind and solar powered base stations for this community that has, until now, lacked any telephony connectivity. The Riemvasmaak community was involved in the building of the sites, thus contributing to their economic well-being.
MTN’s meteorical growth and socially responsible approach has not gone unnoticed. Earlier this year, MTN brand was rated as the country's most valuable brand, according to a league table of both African and South African brands compiled by Brandirectory.
MTN was ranked as the only African brand in the BrandFinance Global 500 list.
In the same year, MTN was voted one of the most socially responsible companies according to a nationwide survey of South African consumers conducted by First Principles.
MTN was also voted the Best Employer for three consecutive years by the CRF Institute in recognition of its excellent HR management, leadership and strategy.
MTN acquired the remaining 59% of iTalk Cellular, a cellular service provider that contracts with consumers directly, providing MTN airtime, handsets and related products that it did not already own. i-Talk became a wholly owned company within the MTN Group of companies on 12 January 2009. The acquisition strengthens distribution competence across South Africa.
With the acquisition of Verizon SA, MTN gained 23% of the lucrative data market in South Africa. From 1 March 2009, Verizon Business South Africa became part of MTN and began trading as MTN Business. MTN Business compliments MTN’s existing investment in MTN Network Solutions and expands MTN’s ability to deliver mobile and internet-based data services to multi-national corporate clients across the continent. In addition, MTN is now able to offer existing clients the opportunity to holistically expand and upgrade their existing voice and data infrastructures.