MTN Connects 23 Million People Via Rural Broadband Coverage Program

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MTN has reportedly rolled out 912 rural sites, thus expanded coverage to more than 23 Million people.

MTN Group has announced the introduction of CHASE, a new programme aimed at accelerating digital connectivity across Africa.

As coverage is key, in 2021, MTN, rolled out 912 new rural towers (after rolling out 684 in 2020). This extended rural broadband coverage to a total of more than 23 million people across the company’s markets, from 8.5 million in 2020.

The roll out has brought MTN’s total rural broadband coverage to 83% and compares to its target of 95% by 2025.

MTN says to ensure that it meets this target, for 2022 the company linked the incentives for executive remuneration to the progress it achieves on three ESG measures, including the expansion of rural broadband.

Amith Maharaj, Executive for Network Design & Planning at MTN Group said, “Through our rural connectivity programme, 23 million people can now use their smartphones to access information and learning tools. This programme is also accelerating the drive towards financial inclusion, where those previously considered as ‘unbanked’ are able to use the new infrastructure to make financial transactions.”

The impact has extended to entrepreneurs who can now run their businesses using the power of the internet, says MTN.

MTN commended its partners, whom the company says helps the operator overcome challenges in its quest to closing the coverage gap in rural areas. In 2021, MTN increased the number of rollout partners as well as the kinds of partnership models in place.

The company is also using new technologies to find coverage solutions such as OpenRAN (radio access network) which enables it to cost-effectively develop and install 2G to 5G networks in previously unconnected areas.

As part of MTN’s target to reach Net Zero by 2040, the network operator is re-using 3G equipment – often in rural areas – when it is swapped out for 5G equipment in areas where it has 5G spectrum. This helps reduce the cost of these technologies while avoiding the emissions associated with the equipment’s manufacture.

MTN believes that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected life. Through increasing rural connectivity, the company is helping communities transform. Access to information can reduce poverty by educating and upskilling the youth, creating jobs and improving lives.

“This fits with our Ambition 2025 strategic intent: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress,” the company says