Tag: MTN

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

Disappearing MTN airtime caused by SMS error

By Jamie McKane for MyBroadband

MTN has investigated a report of disappearing airtime on its network and found the cause to be an issue with its SMS charging system.

An MTN customer recently contacted MyBroadband after noticing that his airtime balance was decreasing, despite him having active voice, SMS, and data bundles.

The customer recorded his MTN airtime balance over a 10-day period and found that his balance was depleting at a rate of around R0.10 per day.

This resulted in a total loss of R1.00 over the 10-day test.

Additionally, out-of-bundle data usage was not active for the user.

Faulty SMS charging node
MTN executive for corporate affairs Jacqui O’Sullivan said the depleting airtime was caused by a problem with an SMS charging node.

“Upon our investigation, we have established that our customer’s airtime was incorrectly depleted due to a faulty node which is used for SMS charging,” O’Sullivan said.

“The number format for the B-number was not being normalised to 083 format, but was instead being sent as 2783 which resulted in incorrect charging.”

“This node is one of eight which is used in a round-robin method for SMS charging,” she said.

O’Sullivan added that the node was detected and removed from traffic on 20 December 2019, which is why the customer’s airtime remained unchanged from this date.

Customers affected
It is currently unclear how many customers were affected by the faulty SMS charging node, but MTN is investigating this to determine which users to reimburse.

“We have extended our investigation to establish the number of customers that may have been affected by this error,” O’Sullivan said.

According to the mobile operator, the error affected SMS services for a number of its prepaid and hybrid customers.

“Pending the outcome of this investigation, we intend communicating to affected customers regarding their reimbursement.”

MTN, Vodacom urged to lower data prices

By Sihle Mavuso for IOL

In the wake of the Competition Commission ordering Vodacom and MTN to lower their exorbitant data prices, the ruling party says the two must voluntarily do so now than later.

MTN and Vodacom lost R22-billion of their combined value on Monday after the competition watchdog gave the two dominant mobile phone operators two months to slash internet connectivity prices or face prosecution.

The ANC, in response to the two mobile giants’ reasoning that data was so expensive because of the lack of spectrum, said that would be sorted in the near future and that should not be an excuse.

Joining the chorus of those welcoming the news that on the side battered the values of the companies, the ruling party said the current steep prices of data have a negative impact not only on the growth of the information and communication technology (ICT) sector.

“We reiterate our call that operators must demonstrate goodwill by voluntarily lowering data prices and allow government to resolve the allocation of new spectrum. The release of spectrum, which the ANC supports, will resolve the network capacity constraints experienced by Mobile Network Operators and accelerate the roll-out of broadband networks in rural areas,” the party said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

On the high data costs, the party said the working class poor, youth, students and women are robbed of their income as they spend more than 25% on the telecommunications services including data services.

It said the majority of the country’s people, due to the widening digital divide, are unable to enjoy the benefits of a digital economy, which deprive the poor of full participation in the democracy of our country. It added that this further stifles development and growth of small businesses.

“The ANC further urges government to activate all regulatory mechanisms, i.e. Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to ensure the implementation of the findings and recommendations of the Competition Commission, with the necessary speed. Access to data in the 21st century is important because it facilitates the realisation of many rights enshrined in our Bill of Rights, as well as, enhancing economic participation and the strengthening of our democracy.”

Among its findings, the Competition Commission said while conducting its inquiry it started in 2017, it found that current comparisons of the prices charged by Vodacom and MTN in other African markets in which they operate also reveal that South African prices are higher than most countries by some distance.

How WhatsApp is killing calls in SA

A recent article by MyBroadband explored how the popularity of VoIP services like WhatsApp has impacted voice income for South African major mobile networks: Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C.

  • Vodacom has experienced a “slight decrease in the consumption of traditional voice minutes”, but said the advantages of traditional GSM calls still make it a good option for consumers.
  • MTN told MyBroadband that it has “experienced a decrease in traditional calls and an increase in VoIP usage to match”.
  • Cell C admitted they had noticed a decrease in the amount of traditional call minutes being used, but said that it had stabilised.
  • Telkom told MyBroadband that it had “not seen a decrease in the average minutes of use per user for both on and off-network calling”.

However, according to We are Social, “WhatsApp is the biggest messaging app … in South Africa. We have 38-million unique mobile users, which grew by two million between 2017 and 2018. ”

The high costs of data in South Africa prevent many users from using WhatsApp’s full capabilities.

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