Tag: MTN

Source: MyBroadband

Research from DataEQ, in partnership with Deloitte Africa, shows that telecoms remains South Africa’s least-liked industry.

The latest South African Telecommunications Sentiment Index revealed that the sector ranked last for the second consecutive year compared to banking, insurance, and food retail.

Retail had a public net sentiment of 4.1%, followed by insurance at 1.4%.

While banking had a negative public net sentiment of -7.5%, it was eclipsed by people’s dislike of telecoms.

The researchers measured public net sentiment for the telecommunications industry at -31.5%.

The report also ranked cellular network operators according to customer sentiment, analysing operational and reputational customer opinion.

Overall, MTN had the highest net sentiment of South Africa’s mobile operators with –6.7% — extending its lead over the rest with a 14.9 percentage point improvement from last year.

Vodacom saw an increase of 2.8 percentage points — enough to go from third to second place.

However, Telkom is breathing down its neck after a 13.6 percentage point surge.

Cell C dropped from second to fourth place thanks to a deterioration in operational sentiment.

“Operational conversation pertains to mentions from consumers in a customer journey with a network provider, from those looking to sign up or cancel, as well as current customers or ex-customers reflecting on their experiences,” the researchers explained.

They found that Cell C’s customer migration to Vodacom and MTN drove complaints.

Rather than compete with MTN and Vodacom in network investment, Cell C opted to switch off its cellular network and entered separate deals with its rivals.

Cell C prepaid customers would use an MTN-managed network, while contract subscribers roam on Vodacom’s network.

The researchers concluded that this resulted in a swell of customer complaints about network downtime.

MTN and Rain also saw increased negativity around their networks, with network quality complaints doubling in their contribution to both operators’ negative operational conversation year-on-year.

Vodacom saw multiple flares in operational complaints over the year.

The researchers stated that these complaints were primarily linked to the competitor’s ShakeOff puzzles.

Vodacom subscribers claimed the puzzles were impossible to complete.

There were also some reports of Vodacom network downtime, the report said.

Vodacom was the only provider whose reputational sentiment declined year on year.

The researchers found that this negative shift was tied mainly to a rise in negativity related to pursuing a telecoms licence in Ethiopia.

Telkom recorded the most significant year-on-year improvement in reputation thanks to decreased negativity and a rise in positive reputational sentiment.

While network quality and customer service remained highly negative areas for network operators in 2021, pricing sentiment increased by 6.4 percentage points from 2020

“In 2021, Cell C, MTN and Vodacom all decreased the price of their 1GB, 30-day data bundle to R85, while Telkom reduced their equivalent offering to R79,” the researchers stated.

“This was likely a driving factor behind the progress seen by the industry in terms of pricing sentiment.”


MTN, Vodacom networks hit by floods

By Sibongile Khumalo for News24

The torrential rains that have battered parts of KwaZulu-Natal since Saturday have shut down 500 MTN network sites in the region, the cellphone company said on Tuesday.

“The flooding in the KZN region has caused power outages at many of our sites, and while we have battery back-up at many of the sites, these batteries have been depleted,” says Jacqui O’Sullivan, MTN SA’s spokesperson.

According to the country’s second-largest cellular network provider, some of the areas impacted by the outage at this stage include Durban South, South Coast, Umlazi, Amanzimtoti, Ballito, and Salt Rock.

Technicians are working to restore connectivity in the affected areas.

Mayor of eThekwini Mxolisi Kaunda has told media that the flooding had resulted in damage to roads and had knocked out electricity supply to several parts of the city. Several water supply lines have also been affected.

Several regions across the country have been hit by heavy rains since last weekend.

Meanwhile Vodacom spokesperson, Byron Kennedy, said over 400 network towers of the company from the north to the south coast of Durban have been impacted due to disruptions to electricity supply. He said areas from Ballito to Amanzimtoti, in the south, “are currently experiencing intermittent mobile services”.

Some fibre infrastructure is also affected due to water-logged fibre ducts.

Kennedy said efforts to restore sites were being hampered by severe damage to roads and certain facilities not being accessible due to the risk of electrical shocks.

Provincial disaster management teams have revealed that over 45 people have lost their lives as a result of the heavy rains, according to a statement issued by the MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka.


Six bidders qualify for spectrum auction

Source: Reuters

South Africa’s telecoms regulator ICASA said on Monday all six applications it had received from telecom firms have qualified to participate in a radio frequency spectrum auction, a process slowed by years of legislative delay.

ICASA said the qualifying bidders are MTN, Vodacom, Telkom, Cell C, Rain Networks and Liquid Telecoms.

“We can officially proclaim the forthcoming March 2022 spectrum auction as an unparalleled milestone in our country’s communications history as this will be the first ever spectrum auction held on our shores,” Keabetswe Modimoeng, chairperson of ICASA, said in a statement.

Operators have waited for years for ICASA to release spectrum licences that are needed to lower data costs, roll out 5G and add network capacity as data demand has surged and smartphone adoption continues to grow.

But the spectrum auction has been stalled by legal challenges that threaten to further delay the auction.

ICASA will conduct a bidder seminar on Feb. 28, followed by mock auctions from March 1 to 3 with the individual bidders.

Thereafter, the auction stage will commence on March 8, with the main online auction taking place from March 10, the regulator said.


Unvaccinated MTN workers may lose their jobs

By Kevin Brandt for EWN

Mobile telecommunications company MTN has become the latest big corporate to announce a planned vaccine mandate policy for all staff.

In a statement on Monday, the group said the move forms part of its efforts to protect the health and safety of staff.

The MTN Group said it would be implementing a mandatory vaccination policy for staff from next month.

“The science is clear. Vaccination against COVID-19 reduces rates of serious infections, hospitalisation, and death. As an employer, we have a responsibility to ensure that our workplaces are guided by the highest standards of health and safety, and that has informed our decision to make COVID-19 vaccination mandatory for our staff,” said MTN group president and chief executive officer Ralph Mupita.

MTN said it recognised the right of employees with what it termed “clearly defined grounds” to be exempted from the policy and refuse vaccination.

But for those staff not exempt from the policy through risk assessment or agreed upon exclusions who refuse to get vaccinated, MTN said it would not be “obliged to keep them in employment”.

In some markets with inadequate access to vaccines, the corporate will allow parts of its workforce to be accommodated with full-time work-from-home or alternate arrangements.

The company has called for more COVID-19 vaccines to be made available to protect the continent’s residents.

MTN Independent’s non-executive chairman Mcebisi Jonas has been in West Africa during the state and official visits by the South African government as part of businesses delegation where the issue of mandatory vaccines was also discussed.

MTN wants to buy Telkom, insiders say

By Aaron Kirchfeld, Loni Prinsloo and Dinesh Nair for News24

MTN recently made a takeover approach for Telkom in a deal that would’ve combined South Africa’s second and third largest telecommunications operators, according to people familiar with the matter.

Telkom has so far shown no interest in a sale, said the people, who asked to remain private as the talks are confidential. It remains unclear whether the larger rival will continue its pursuit, the people said.

“There is no deal on the table in relation to this matter,” MTN said in a statement after Bloomberg inquiries, declining further comment. A representative for Telkom didn’t immediately comment.

Following a multi-year asset-disposal program, MTN is flush with cash and looking to build on its core business. A combination with Telkom, which has a market value of R29 billion, would help close the gap with crosstown rival Vodacom Group Ltd. MTN’s shares have risen more than 177% this year, valuing it at about R314.7 billion.

Last week, the two parties agreed on a multi-year roaming agreement, where Telkom uses MTN’s network. There are also certain alignment in their company strategy as MTN is busy with a sale-and-leaseback deal of its South African towers, and Telkom is separating its towers business to prepare it for a possible listing of the unit.

With over 40% owned by the state, Telkom controls South Africa’s largest landline network and also sells mobile-phone packages among other services. Telkom’s other large shareholder is state-owned pension fund manager the Public Investment Corporation that holds 14% of the company, according to Bloomberg data. For a deal to ever get the go-ahead, there would have to be government support and a number of competition issues would have to be worked on, said the people.

Johannesburg-based MTN has been paying debt at a rapid rate as it disposes of non-core assets, that also includes the phased sell-down of a stake it holds in recently listed IHS Towers, the sale-and-leaseback of its South African towers and exiting certain Middle Eastern operations.

MTN is Africa’s biggest mobile phone company with about 272 million subscribers, according to its website.

Icasa backtracks, offers temporary spectrum again

By Sibongile Khumalo for News24

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, Icasa issued temporary spectrum to providers to cope with the surge in work-from-home data demands during lockdown.

MTN, for example, reported a 165% increase in data traffic since the start of the pandemic.

Icasa then announced the temporary spectrum would be withdrawn at the end of November.

Vodacom, MTN and Telkom objected, and approached the court to seek an urgent interdict to prevent that from happening.

The case was due to be heard next week.

But on Wednesday, Icasa announced providers could now submit applications for temporary spectrum for a seven-month period ending 30 June 2022, or three months after the termination of the national state of disaster, whichever came first.

Icasa chairperson Keanetswe Modimeng said the invitation showed the authority was “not a spectrum-hoarding regulator”, adding the arrangement was an improved pro-competitive interim measure.

“This provisional arrangement is tailored to deal with any network issues which may affect the provision of services to consumers in the intervening period,” added Modimoeng.

Icasa said companies would have to submit their applications by no later than 17 November 2021.

“The authority believes that it is in the best interest of the public to have a provisional spectrum licensing arrangement in place over the next seven months. This will enable all other inherent licensing processes to conclude while mitigating any possible service disruptions.”

The auction of permanent high-demand spectrum was halted after Telkom and e.tv obtained an interdict against the process, citing flaws in Icasa’s process.

Icasa said it was still confident it could hold the auction in March 2022.


Source: News24

A group of heavily armed robbers attacked a DSV courier van outside MTN’s head office in Johannesburg.

The incident happened on Friday when the vehicle arrived at the security boom outside the entrance to the office complex, Mthokozisi Ndlovu, public relations manager at MTN, told News24.

“Two cars, a silver BMW and a white double-cab, arrived while the courier van was being granted access. They opened the doors and started telling everyone to get down,” Ndlovu said.

DSV had employed additional security to escort the van to its destination. In CCTV footage of the incident, a white car, with security personnel, can be seen following the delivery vehicle.

The perpetrators opened fire on the escort car, wounding three DSV security guards, Ndlovu said.

In a statement, MTN said the three guards survived and are recovering.

The telecommunications company is also providing trauma counselling to the employees present during the incident.

Ndlovu said the boxes of handsets were unloaded from the courier van into the double-cab bakkie.

The value of the items was not disclosed.

“This is the first incident this year. We had issues with security in 2017 and 2018, but since then we have seen a decrease,” he told News24.

By Yasmine Jacobs for IOL

Cell C has started the migration of its 16 million subscribers to MTN’s cellphone tower infrastructure. This comes as the company prepares to switch off its own radio access network.

“From mid-December, our contract and broadband customers will be enabled to roam on a partner network. This change will be beneficial to our customers and ensure a connectivity experience that delivers both quality and value,” said Cell C in a statement released on Wednesday.

Cell C said its customers will be migrated in stages and it expects the transition to be completed by early February 2021.

“You will be alerted via SMS communication when your service will be enabled. This change will not result in any additional charges and your existing terms and conditions will remain in place,” Cell C added.

Customers have been advised to manually activate ’Data roaming’ in the phone settings in a bid to avoid disruptions to you data connectivity.

It’s worth noting that Apple device users’ data roaming will be activated automatically.

Customers still experiencing difficulties after this are encouraged to contact general customer service at 084 135.

According to MyBroadband, this infrastructure sharing strategy will help Cell C to cut down on network investments and forms part of a broader turnaround strategy to get the company out of deep financial woes.


MTN CEO Rob Shuter to step down

By Gugu Lourie for Tech Financials

Rob Shuter, MTN Group CEO, will be stepping down from his role at the end of his contract in March 2021, the mobile phone operator announced on Wednesday.

“The board thanks Rob for the contribution he has made and, continues to make, to MTN. The succession process will be concluded during the year, enabling a seamless handover,” the company said in a statement.

MTN group chief technology and IT officer Charles Molapisi has been appointed to the group executive committee and the fixed contract of the group chief operations officer, Jens Schulte-Bockum, has been extended until 31 March 2022.

Shuter joined MTN from Vodafone in 2016, to replace Sifiso Dabengwa.

He was the CEO of Vodafone’s European cluster.

Shuter is also a former CEO of Vodafone Netherlands and ex-Vodacom chief financial officer. He has extensive experience in telecoms and banking having held senior management roles at Vodacom Group, Standard Bank and Nedbank prior to joining Vodafone Group. For more read: MTN taps Rob Shuter as new CEO

“We will use 2020 to implement our succession process and ensure a seamless handover to the new group president and CEO whilst maintaining our operational execution,” said Shuter in a statement.

You can now RICA your SIM cards online

Vodacom and Rain consumers can RICA their sim-cards online, while MTN promises to improve RICA service in the near future.

  • RICA stands for the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act
  • All SIM cards in the country must be registered with a user’s personal details such as residential address and ID number
  • Online registration allows customers to avoid queues
  • Vodacom was the first telecommunications company to make use of online RICA in 2018, but this was only used to verify and update RICA information of existing customers
  • Similar to an instore-RICA, consumers are required to have a valid South African identity document and a proof of residence that is no more than 3 months old
  • MTN has pledged to partner with the Department of Home Affairs to leverage digital databases and biometric authentication to improve the process
  • Cell C and Telkom do not allow for online RICA, with no plans in the near future to release the functionality

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