Connecting Africa is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 3099067.

Business of Tech

MTN SA towers sale receives major interest

Article Image
MTN has received a lot of interest in its plans to sell and then lease back its passive tower infrastructure in South Africa.

The pan-African operator said it has received over 20 expressions of interest "from a wide and varied set of industry players," both in South Africa and internationally.

The group gave an update as part of a trading statement for the quarter ended March 31, 2021, but the tower sale plans have been in the works since last year.

MTN SA issued interested parties with an invitation to offer non-binding expressions of interest for the towers, and said both global and local intermediaries will act as financial advisors. It expects the process to be concluded by the end of the third quarter of this year.

Divesting in tower infrastructure is a growing trend in the local telecoms market and fellow mobile operator Cell C has already begun migrating its customers to roam on other networks, with plans to get rid of its tower infrastructure in the long term.

MTN is also still moving forward with its asset realization program (ARP) and said it is confident it will make progress in the sale of a 29% stake in tower company IHS Group in the short term. The ARP is targeting proceeds of at least R25 billion (US$1.75 billion) over three to five years.

The group also plans to sell its 75% stake in MTN Syria to the minority shareholder Teleinvest for $65 million, as it moves forward with plans for an "orderly exit" out of the Middle East, announced back in August 2020.

SA gives decent performance

MTN South Africa also delivered a solid performance for the quarter, with service revenue up 11.8% year-on-year.

It added 95,000 subscribers in the quarter, to total 32.1 million in SA. Postpaid subscribers grew by 79,000 to a base of 6.8 million, including Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The prepaid subscriber base reached 25.3 million, with over 16,000 subscribers added in the quarter.

Overall mobile data revenue in SA grew by 18.5% – driven by a 76.3% uptick in data traffic.

During the first quarter MTN also lowered the effective data tariff rate by 33%.

An active prepaid data subscriber now consumes approximately 2GB of data, on average, with the active postpaid data subscriber using nearly 10GB of data per month.

Nigeria pulls down group subs

However, group subscribers fell by 1.7 million, to total 277.9 million, as the Nigerian business lost 5 million users due to restrictions on all new SIM sales and new SIM registration regulations in the country.

Excluding the impacts of MTN Nigeria the group's total users would have increased by 3.4 million.

Overall group service revenue grew by 17.8% for the quarter to R42.3 billion ($3 billion), in constant currency terms, and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) rose by 21.3%.

Related posts:

— Paula Gilbert, Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Super-app Gozem raises $5M for expansion plans

Gozem, the Francophone African super-app, has raised $5 million in a Series A round to help fund its expansion plans.

Story

African startups raise almost $4B in 2021

Africa's startup ecosystem raised almost $4 billion in 2021 according to startups deals database Africa: The Big Deal – with Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt and Kenya taking the lion's share.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: October 2021

By Omdia Analysts

Across the Middle East and Africa, regulators are beginning to facilitate spectrum allocation to operators in the region for the deployment of new and innovative technology.

Story

Research Bites: Why Africans stop using mobile apps

By Chinedu Wilfred Okonkwo, Magda Huisman and Estelle Taylor

This article – in collaboration with the African Journal of Science, Technology, Innovation and Development – explores the reasons behind why Africans stop using certain mobile apps.

More Guest Perspectives

Partner perspectives

All Partner Perspectives

AfricaCom perspectives

Story

Digital inclusion as a catalyst for economic empowerment: Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu

Mastercard's Imelda Ngunzu talks to Connecting Africa about how digital payment solutions and mobile money are transforming the lives of small business owners, women and marginalized groups in East Africa.

Story

Accelerating women in STEM: In conversation with GirlCode's Tinyiko Simbine

GirlCode co-founder and CFO Tinyiko Simbine talks about why it's important to help girls and young women excel in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Story

How Poa Internet is unlocking meaningful connectivity in East Africa

Poa Internet's CEO Andy Halsall shares his views on what it takes to develop last-mile connectivity and get Africans online in a meaningful way.

More AfricaCom perspectives

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Meeting SME’s where they are - Building inclusive ecosystems for Africa’s small business owners

Micro and small businesses have been, and still are, the spine and lifeblood of the African economy, making up 90% of businesses on the continent.

Many of these businesses have still been operating in traditional ways and serving non-digital customers. With Covid-19 expediting the digital transformation process, businesses - big and small - have been forced to adapt to operate successfully in a more digital-first environment.

To ensure that the digitalization of Africa’s market doesn’t leave micro and small businesses behind, digital solutions must be inclusive and create business-ready environments. But how can we ensure that African SMEs become digitally enabled?

In this webinar we will share from our own experience on how to create such an environment, and the actions we took in vcita to get there, including:

  • Closing the digital literacy gap through tech inclusion 
  • Making a positive impact on local communities
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world
  • Building the foundations for digital inclusion and small business growth in a technology-accelerated world

Register Here >>

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up