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MTN to Bid For Second 5G Spectrum; Other Telcos Protest

MTN to bid for a second 5g spectrum on December 16, 2022

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

Nigerian mobile telecommunications company, MTN has showcased a potential interest to bid for a second 5G spectrum in the forthcoming auction which is scheduled for December 19, 2022.

The potential bidding however has been opposed by other telecommunication companies which claimed the move is against the spirit of competition. 

Investors King could recall that MTN and Mafab Communications won the first 3.5GHz spectrum license for a 5G network which was auctioned in December 2021 by the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC).

The highly competitive auction which took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja also witnessed the participation of Airtel

Subsequently, in September 2022, MTN finally launched the 5G network to boost internet speed in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Ibadan, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri.

However, to access the 5G network, users will need to have compatible devices which is a bit expensive for average Nigerians.

To this end, MTN thereafter partnered with a phone financing company, Intelligra to bridge the cost of 5G-enabled smartphones. 

According to MTN Chief Marketing Officer, Adia Sowho, the partnership with Intelligra is aimed to drive 5G adoption in Nigeria. 

Meanwhile, barely two months after MTN launched its 5G network, the leading telecommunication company in Nigeria has showcased a potential bid for the second spectrum which is scheduled to hold on Friday. 

At a stakeholders engagement meeting organised in Lagos, MTN’s General Manager, Regulatory Affairs, Ikenna Ikeme, said the company had entered the last auction in 2021 with the expectation that it was an open market and it would be allowed to participate in other auctions should the need arise.

This, however, did not go down well with other telecommunication companies which claimed that should MTN be allowed to participate in the second auction and eventually win, it will make them dormant players which could affect the overall growth of the industry. 

The Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta who presided over the engagement session noted that all contending issues will be given due consideration before the auction on Friday. 

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Telecommunications

Airtel Africa Announces Interim Dividend Amidst Robust Half-Year Performance

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Airtel Financial Results - Investors King

Airtel Africa Plc has declared its intention to pay an interim dividend for the half-year period ending September 2023.

The telecommunication giant, listed on both the NGX and the London Stock Exchange, shared this development in a corporate notice titled ‘Announcement of Interim Dividend Currency Exchange Rates’ filed with the Nigerian Exchange Limited on Tuesday.

Airtel Africa disclosed that the interim dividend, amounting to 2.38 US cents per ordinary share, would be disbursed on December 15, 2023, to qualified shareholders.

Notably, shareholders have the option to receive the dividend in US dollars, GB pounds, or Nigerian naira, based on their preference.

The adopted exchange rates for currency conversion were set at 1 USD = 858.24 Nigerian naira and 1 USD = 0.8190 GB pounds.

Airtel Africa emphasized that these rates were determined by the exchange rates applicable to the US dollar as of Friday.

Despite recording a loss after tax of $13 million, primarily attributed to a foreign exchange loss of $471 million in finance costs, Airtel Africa showcased robust performance in its half-year report.

The company reported a 19.7% growth in revenue currency to $2.62 billion, with double-digit revenue growth across all segments.

Mobile services revenue increased by 18.3%, driven by growth in voice and data revenue, while mobile money revenue saw a significant surge of 30.9%.

The company’s EBITDA also exhibited a commendable increase of 21.2%, reflecting a 70 basis points margin improvement over the prior period.

Airtel Africa remains resilient in the face of inflationary cost pressures and foreign exchange headwinds, showcasing a promising outlook for investors.

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MTN Evaluates Exit from Three African Markets Amid Regional Challenges

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MTN Nigeria - Investors King

African telecommunications giant MTN is reportedly contemplating an “orderly exit” from its operations in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia, according to a report by Business Insider Africa.

The company, which currently operates in 19 countries across Africa and the Middle East, aims to streamline its portfolio and address challenges in the West and Central Africa (Weca) region.

While the exact reasons for the potential exit remain undisclosed, MTN’s financial reports indicate broader challenges in the Weca segment.

CEO Ralph Mupita highlighted concerns over inflation and currency devaluation in multiple markets.

The company’s 2022 financials revealed a 1.7% decline in EBITDA margin due to pricing pressures, fintech channel subsidies, and macroeconomic hurdles.

Although Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry, and Liberia contribute only 1.6% to MTN’s total revenue, the move aligns with the company’s strategic focus on optimizing its market presence.

MTN holds a significant market share, approximately 30%, in Guinea-Bissau and Guinea-Conakry, while Lonestar MTN is the second-largest telecom operator in Liberia.

The potential exit reflects MTN’s commitment to adapting its business strategy to navigate the evolving economic landscape and optimize its portfolio for sustained growth.

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Nigeria’s Ministry of Communications Secures N1 Billion for Three Million Technical Talent Program

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Telecommunications - Investors King

Dr. Bosun Tijani, Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy, has announced the acquisition of N1 billion in funding for the implementation of the Three Million Technical Talent program.

During a council meeting with directors of the Information Communication and Technology department in all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) in Abuja, Dr. Tijani emphasized the ministry’s commitment to building Nigeria’s technical talent base, strengthening the nation’s digital economy.

The minister highlighted the critical role of technology in the country’s economic growth and development.

He emphasized that effective collaboration, the creation of an enabling environment, and a workforce of public servants prepared to embrace change are essential to achieving the best results.

Dr. Tijani stated, “The best way to address societal problems is to bring people together to discuss and find solutions. Our meeting must be critical and effective in resolving issues to produce tangible outcomes. This will attract stakeholders and private investors who will provide the necessary resources.”

He emphasized the ministry’s commitment to its mission of training three million individuals, even in the absence of a dedicated budget.

The support of various organizations and companies has made it possible to secure N1 billion for the project, demonstrating the increasing interest and investment in Nigeria’s digital talent and technology initiatives.

Dr. Tijani urged the council to play its part in realizing the administration’s digitization objectives.

He called for the transformation of the civil service to maximize the utilization of limited resources, eliminating outdated practices, such as paper-based documentation, to usher in a new era of efficiency and digital innovation.

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