MTN Resilient, Continues To Expand In Africa Despite Fine Setbacks

By Dana Sanchez Published: March 3, 2016, 12:39 pm
MTN Rwanda at 2015 Rwanda Trade expo. Photo: itezimbere.comMTN Rwanda at 2015 Rwanda Trade expo. Photo: itezimbere.com

MTN has announced the launch of 4G services in Rwanda even as Africa’s top mobile service provider continues to negotiate a $3.9 billion fine imposed by Nigerian regulators that helped reduce the company’s profits for the year by more than 50 percent.

In Rwanda, 4G services will be available to MTN customers who own LTE-enabled mobile devices. Existing subscribers will have to upgrade their SIM cards to a 4G SIM card, ITNewsAfrica reported.

Nigeria’s over-the-top fine against MTN became public in October 2015, but it wasn’t the only thing that contributed to MTN’s poor profit performance.

A decline in voice revenue in Nigeria and a reduction in handset revenue in South Africa due to industrial action in the first half of 2015 contributed to the group’s flat revenue for the year, according to ITWebAfrica.

The 4G experience allows wireless Internet access at higher speeds that 3G. Fourth generation mobile telecommunications technology is succeeding 3G.

4G-LTE has been launched in 28 African countries, but few people know exactly where and which mobile operators have launched, according to a report in BalancingAct-Africa.

There are 129 operators with 4G projects in 39 African countries, including 53 operators that have already launched 4G-LTE in 28 countries, BalancingAct reported on Jan. 25.

Some countries have made official the amount of the 4G license fees that operators must pay to have the right to deploy the service, which gives an idea of what 4G will generate for governments.

MTN Group posted a 54.4 percent drop in annual profit Thursday as it set aside nearly $643 million to cover a potential settlement of a fine in Nigeria, Reuters reported.

MTN is negotiating with Nigerian authorities to reduce a $3.9 billion fine imposed in 2015 for failing to cut off unregistered SIM card users by a specific date.

MTN has also put new security measures in place after customers complained of losing money to scammers, CajNewsAfrica reported.

“MTN wishes to assure its customers that it has put security requirements and systems in place to improve security,” the company said in a statement. “However, as with any security and control systems, unscrupulous individuals will always explore ways of circumventing such systems.”

Since 2009, MTN said it had implemented and had made available to the banking environment a feature called Subscriber Identity for Third Parties (SIFT), which gives banks real-time alerts on change in SIM card numbers.

However it’s up to customers to safeguard their Internet and telephone banking log-in details and passwords, MTN said. They’re the last line of defense that should be known only to users.

In late February MTN Nigeria made a good faith payment of US$250 million to Nigeria’s federal government, according to ITWebAfrica.

“MTN Nigeria continues engaging with the Nigerian authorities in an attempt to ensure an amicable resolution in the interest of MTN Nigeria, its stakeholders and the Nigerian authorities,” according to a statement posted on the company website.

 

 

 

 

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