MTN to invest US$143m in network expansion

MTN Ghana has plans to roll out a range of network expansion programmes this year to enhance its communications service delivery in a bid to offer product value proposition for its customers.

The telecoms company is, therefore, investing an amount of US$143 million in capital expenditure to boost network expansion in order to improve communications service delivery.

This year, the communications giant will roll out 197 Long Term Evolution (LTE) site across the country in addition to the existing 275 already spread nationwide. This will mean a total of 475 LTEs in all.

The Chief Executive Officer of MTN Ghana, Mr Ebenezer Twum Asante, said at the MTN stakeholders’ forum on March 13 in Accra that the telecommunications company would roll out 561 new 3G sites across the country while adding 345 2G new sites to the existing ones.

These expansion programmes are expected to increase network capacity and improve on data provision and network security. That, Mr Asante said, would provide an attractive value proposition for the MTN brand.

With over 19 million subscribers, the multinational telecommunications company reported a strong performance driven by data revenue growth. MTN Ghana’s data revenue growth was attributable to low-cost smartphones sold following the successful launch of its 4G network.

The company’s financial results show that the company delivered an attractive value propositions that saw revenue grow 19.8 per cent, supported by data, outgoing voice and digital.

Data revenue went up 65.7 per cent, contributing 42 per cent to total revenue, driven by expansion of network coverage, increased availability of low-cost smartphones and LTE network, uptake in data usage supported by lifestyle bundles and new data bundles introduced with launch of 4G.

Sale of smartphones increased by 64.4 per cent to 5.3 million while digital revenue contributed 48 per cent to data revenue, supported by mobile financial services.

Mobile Money active subscribers increased by 79.4 per cent to 5.7 million, which was supported by strong regional innovation and marketing.

Job creation

Mr Asante estimated the number of jobs created directly and indirectly by the company at 500,000, explaining that the ecosystem of dealers/distributors, retailers, suppliers, partners, recharge card printers, marketing and advertising firms, among others, that depended on MTN for the sustainability of their businesses meant that MTN had a duty to those companies and their employees to remain sustainable.

“It is the light of these that we never stopped to plan, invest and stay relevant to the community in which the telecom giant operates,” he maintained.

MTN Foundation

While the MTN Ghana Foundation, the CRS wing of the telecom firm, has spent over GH¢33 million on 142 projects in health, education and economic empowerment across the country in nine years.

These interventions, according to him, have impacted positively on millions of Ghanaian directly and indirectly throughout Ghana.

Obstacles to growth

Mr Asante’s beautiful presentation of the company’s performance was almost dimmed by the enumeration of a litany of obstacles to growth.

He mentioned fibre cuts, load shedding and unpredictable costs as some of the heavy obstacles that may hinder the growth of the blue chip company.

The issue of protracted permitting, price competition, uncertainty with business operating permits and escalating costs is also an albatross around the company’s neck.

But the biggest obstacle that eats into the company’s finances is the National Fiscal Stabilisation levy, which Mr Asante said was having a toll on their business.

Businesses in the country have heightened their call for the withdrawal of the Fiscal Stabilisation Levy (FSL), which they say is having a toll on their businesses.

“Abolishing the FSL, which is deducted before profit is declared, will go a long way to make the telecom industry robust to continue its positive contributions to the economy of Ghana”, he said.

The MTN CEO said although the levy was introduced with sunset clauses, it had continued and it was time it was abolished.


Source: Graphic online