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.

4G/5G

Ethiopia On MTN's Expansion Roadmap, Hints CEO

Article Image
MTN CEO Rob Shuter is looking for additional markets to conquer and has earmarked Ethiopia, the second largest country in Africa by population after Nigeria, as a country that fits the profile of long-term strategic investment target.

During an interview with Bloomberg, Shuter said he saw an opportunity for MTN to be a market leader in Ethiopia, which has more than 105 million residents. "There are a few large markets that are under-penetrated and where there is scope for a No. 1 or No. 2 operator, like Ethiopia," Shuter told Bloomberg. "That's obviously one where we would be really excited to participate, in some way."

MTN CEO Rob Shuter at Africacom 2018.
MTN CEO Rob Shuter at Africacom 2018.

MTN has been present in Ethiopia since 2013, when it was awarded a value-added service licence and opened an office in Addis Ababa, the capital. But MTN, as well as rival such as Vodacom, which also has a local office, have been excluded from offering basic telecom service.

According to the research by Ovum, the mobile penetration in Ethiopia is about 25% lower than the African average. This is largely down to the national monopoly of the telecom sector by the state-owned Ethio Telecom. The country took a U-turn in policy in June last year when EPRDF, Ethiopia's ruling coalition, announced that telecom, among a number of sectors and industries under national monopoly, would be open to private investment from home and abroad. (See Ethiopia to Split National Telco, Sell Stakes.)

Despite the lack of details, the policy change in Ethiopia may well have elevated the interest of the multinational telecom operators, which are already active in Africa's main markets. As Shuter told Bloomberg, there are few opportunities for MTN to increase its scale in Africa as it is already present in the two major markets (Nigeria and South Africa), most of the medium-tier countries and some of the smaller markets. MTN is active in 22 countries across Africa and the Middle East and has more than 236 million customers.

Orange, another heavyweight in the African market, may also be tempted to re-enter Ethiopia. Under its former brand, FT-Orange, the operator managed Ethio Telecom from 2010 to 2012.

— Wei Shi, Site Editor, Connecting Africa

Innovation hub

Story

Safaricom launches M-Pesa 'super app'

Safaricom has launched its long-awaited M-Pesa 'super app' with new features like offline mode as well as mini-apps within the app.

Story

Hot startup of the month: Nigeria's Bankly

Nigerian startup Bankly is digitizing cash for people who work in the informal sector and helping unbanked Nigerians save money, invest and gain access to credit and other financial services.

More Innovation hub

Latest video

More videos

Guest Perspectives

Story

Omdia View: May 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context and analysis about new licenses for operators in Ethiopia and Uganda, and Nigeria's 5G rollout plans.

Story

Omdia View: April 2021

By Omdia Analysts

This month, Omdia's analysts provide context around Ethiopia's telecoms licensing process, Millicom's plans to exit Tanzania and Ghana, and Airtel Africa's successful capital raise.

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

Upcoming events

North Africa Com
July 13-14, 2021
Virtual Event
Asia Tech x Singapore
July 13-16, 2021
Marina Bay Sands, Singapore
Africa Tech Festival
November 8-12, 2021
Cape Town, South Africa
More Upcoming events

Flash poll

All polls

Archived webinars

Technologies and business models to connect the next billion

Nearly half the planet remains unconnected at a time when COVID-19 has forced people’s reliance on the Internet and digital technologies higher than ever before. Bridging the digital divide to provide Mobile Internet access – the main driver of digital inclusion – is exceedingly important in the current context. Overcoming this connectivity crisis represents a growth opportunity for Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to expand their services outside of the crowded, highly competitive urban markets.

In this webinar we will focus on solutions that help MNOs close both the coverage gap and the usage gap.

Key topics include:

  • What are the barriers to overcome increased Mobile Internet adoption?
  • How to match deployments cost with expected revenue?
  • Operator success story

More Webinars

Sponsored video

More videos

Like us on Facebook

Newsletter Sign Up


Sign Up