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MTN Nigeria Issues First Telco Bond in Nigeria

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

Regarded as the second-largest corporate bond issuance in Nigeria’s history. Leading telecommunications company, MTN Nigeria has announced the successful issuance of N110 billion Series 1, 7-Year 13.0% Fixed Rate Bonds due 2028, (Series I Bond) under its N200 billion Bond Issuance Programme.

This new development marks MTN Nigeria’s debut in the domestic bond market and makes it the first Nigeria’s telecommunication company to achieve this feat with the Series I bond being the largest corporate bond issuance in the debt capital markets thus far in 2021. The signing ceremony took place at MTN’s corporate head office on Thursday May 6, 2021.

Speaking during the signing ceremony, Bolaji Balogun, CEO Chapel Hill Denham (the lead issuing House/Bookrunner); said “We are extremely thankful to MTN Nigeria for the opportunity to deliver on a transaction of this magnitude especially in difficult market and economic conditions. We are proud to be associated with the MTNN’s success story. It is the second largest bond issuance in our market and the largest issuance this year. In the coming days, it will be clear that we all did some incredible work together. I am really proud to have worked with all of these colleagues that you chose to work alongside with us.”

Commenting on the bond issuance, Karl Toriola, CEO, MTN Nigeria said “We live in testing times and we can’t take for granted that we work in an industry that first of all allows us to enhance and serve the society and allows us to continue to sustain ourselves, our families and contribute a great share to the Federal Government of Nigeria’s economic development policies.”

“I want to thank everybody for the work done in preparing all the documentation and securing approvals for the relevant capital market  regulatory authorities. I am aware of the level of commitment that has gone into this. It will help secure MTN’s future in terms of having predictable funding and cost of capital structure going forward, diversifying its funding sources and help in the joint agenda that my team and I have set in being bold in creating opportunities for Nigerians. It also reaffirms our standing both in the capital market and the larger society that we operate in,” he added.

Chapel Hill Denham Advisory Limited acted as the Lead Issuing House while Stanbic IBTC Capital, DLM Advisory, FCMB Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Rand Merchant Bank, and Vetiva Capital Management acted as Joint Issuing Houses.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

Telecommunications

Nokia Launches Next-generation AirScale 5G Portfolio Powered by ReefShark Technology

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Nokia today announced the global launch of its latest range of industry-leading AirScale 5G products covering baseband, remote radio heads, and massive MIMO active antennas with digital beamforming. The innovative solutions are powered by the latest generation of Nokia’s ReefShark System-on-Chip (SoC) chipsets and deliver the highest capacity and network performance while enabling efficient deployments and operation. The rollout of the new products is already underway.

Nokia introduces its new generation of ReefShark-powered AirScale massive MIMO antennas with both 32TRX and 64TRX products, as well as 8T8R remote radio head solutions. The 32TRX is the industry’s lightest, at 17kg, simplifying and speeding up site deployments. Notably, this low weight is achieved at the same time as supporting high radio frequency bandwidth (200 MHz occupied bandwidth and 400 MHz instantaneous bandwidth) and delivering high radio frequency power output, without compromise. Both the new 32TRX and the new 64TRX massive MIMO antennas support both fragmented spectrum and network sharing cases.

Nokia also introduces its new SoC-based baseband plug-in cards to boost the capacity of the AirScale System Module. The new ReefShark-powered plug-in cards deliver up to eight times more throughput and serve up to eight times more cells compared to previous generations. They are easily installed and simplify the upgrade and extended operation of all AirScale deployments. Nokia’s baseband module can support 90,000 connected users simultaneously and has 84 Gbps throughput. The highly efficient ReefShark powered plug-in cards also reduce power consumption by up to 75 percent. Nokia’s modular AirScale baseband enables mobile operators to scale capacity flexibly and efficiently and as their 5G business evolves.

Nokia Single RAN software now includes 5G, accelerating 5G rollouts and cutting overall radio access network TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), by unlocking network efficiencies with common transport, common operability, common software delivery, and increased hardware sharing. The combination of Nokia’s Single RAN software and the new baseband plug-in cards offer multi-mode (2G, 3G, 4G, 5G) and multi-band and supports the latest fronthaul interfaces (eCPRI) on a single baseband platform, simplifying the network and lowering costs.

Nokia’s AirScale baseband architecture is designed to be future-proof and support the increasing demands for wireless traffic. By keeping the L1 and L2 (Layer 1 and Layer 2) computing separate from L3 (Layer 3) and Transport baseband plug-in units, capacity can be added when and where it is needed in the network. Network modernization can be simply achieved either by software upgrade or by adding new plug-in units into the existing baseband.

Nokia’s ReefShark chipsets will also play a critical role in future Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) capabilities. Nokia has already introduced AI/ML features in areas such as predictive load balancing, anomaly detection, and intelligent traffic steering. All Nokia ReefShark platforms are AI/ML ready and Nokia is carrying out proof of concepts with customers this year in innovative areas such as Massive MIMO beam pattern optimization, energy-saving, advanced traffic steering, advanced packet scheduling, and alarm pattern discovery.

Patrick Filkins, Senior Research Analyst, IoT and Mobile Network Infrastructure, IDC, commented: “5G networks are absolutely critical for improving network capacity and performance, particularly when higher bandwidth is in demand. Nokia’s new portfolio addresses these concerns by enabling mobile operators to flexibly scale capacity while helping to smoothly transition to 5G from existing technologies easily and cost-effectively. The integration of Nokia’s ReefShark SoCs across both radio and baseband boosts performance and capacity and the new massive MIMO antennas set a new benchmark for low weight without compromising on performance. These solutions will help mobile operators to address the increasingly dynamic mobile services space that urgently requires more capacity.”

Tommi Uitto, President of Mobile Networks, Nokia, said: “Our new generation of ReefShark-powered AirScale radio and baseband products is evidence of the successful transformation of our business and ability to deliver market-leading products to our global customers. Nokia’s new portfolio enables communication service providers to offer both consumer and enterprise customers with cutting-edge 5G experiences with premium speeds, capacity, and connectivity underpinned by seamless, simple, and efficient ‘plug-in’ deployment. Our new AirScale products are O-RAN ready. They consume less energy and highlight our commitment to climate change. We’re excited to see our customers deploying these products and see the transformative impact of 5G technology.”

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Telecommunications

Global Credit Ratings (GCR) Assigned MTN Nigeria Highest Possible Credit Ratings

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Karl O Toriola - Investorsking.com

MTN Nigeria Communications Plc has been assigned the highest credit ratings of AAA by Global Credit Ratings (GCR).

GCR affirmed MTN Nigeria’s national scale short-term rating of A1+, with a stable outlook.

Also, GCR upgraded the national scale long-term rating of the recently concluded N110 billion Series 1 Senior Unsecured Bond to AAA with a stable outlook.

These represent the highest possible long-term and short-term ratings on GCR’s national rating scale, and MTN Nigeria is the first mobile network operator in Africa to be accorded such ratings by GCR.

According to GCR, “the ratings accorded to MTN Nigeria reflect its very strong competitive position as the leading provider of telecommunications services in Nigeria, as well as its strong earnings and cash flow which has supported a robust financial profile.”

Commenting on the rating, Karl Toriola, Chief Executive Officer, MTN Nigeria, said, “We are delighted with the outcome of the GCR rating. This demonstrates the resilience of our business and positions MTN Nigeria as the benchmark of reference for the information and communications technology sector for long-dated, fixed-term instruments. As we continue to invest in our network and strengthen our risk management processes, we remain focused on sustaining and accelerating growth in line with our Ambition 2025 strategy“.

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Telecommunications

Truecaller Launches Smart SMS Feature in Africa

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Truecaller, the world’s most trusted and accurate Caller ID and telephone search engine, is rolling out a new feature to further augment the user experience.

The new feature Smart SMS has been introduced based on user feedback and is designed to cater to the evolving needs of our consumers. It offers a host of new services to make day-to-day communication a lot more convenient.

Smart SMS is powered by state-of-the-art machine learning models that adapt based on the feedback you give it. It supports users with important messages from banks, billers, travel companies, delivery companies and so much more.

Smart SMS also helps users stay protected from spam and fraud. Only the essential information within an SMS is highlighted and all SMS messages are categorised and easily accessible. From keeping track of your expenses to last-minute changes to your travel, Smart SMS is the future of SMS that will make life a whole lot easier.

Commenting on the new addition, Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi, Director of Business Development & Partnerships Africa at Truecaller said: “Roughly 80% of SMSes one receives daily are from businesses, disengaging users from important/useful messages. To combat that, SMS apps need to become smarter by filtering out spam and categorising useful information.

“At Truecaller, we constantly strive to offer the best user experience by adding unique features that fit in with our core mission: to make communication safer and more efficient for everyone. Truecaller has evolved into a powerful communication hub and for the people who wish to use the app to its fullest, we want to streamline the experience as much as possible for an efficient calling and messaging experience for our end user.”

Truecaller uses the same powerful algorithms used to identify spam callers in SMS as well. The SMS intelligence is built into the app itself and it can work offline – nothing leaves your device, including all OTPs, bank SMSes and financial information.

The feature also offers a Smart Inbox that identifies unknown SMS sender numbers and SMS sender IDs are resolved to business names with logos.

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