MTN to chase digital inclusion ahead of 5G - Mobile World Live

MTN to chase digital inclusion ahead of 5G

16 JUL 2019

LIVE FROM MOBILE 360 – AFRICA, KIGALI, RWANDA: MTN Rwanda CEO Bart Hofker (pictured) placed efforts to increase digital inclusion above deploying 5G in terms of priorities for the operator, though insisted it would not dawdle regarding the latest generation technology.

“On 5G MTN will be testing,” he said. “We will be awake, we will not miss the boat, we will be in the front in Africa. But the focus is digital inclusion to get as many [people as possible] into the digital world.”

Achieving the latter aims involves MTN expanding existing coverage and pushing down the cost of basic data access. Another of the most pertinent barriers hampering inclusion in Africa’s largest markets, Hofker said, is the continued high cost of 3G and 4G devices, which he highlighted as possibly the biggest single issue.

The executive added his unit had made progress towards MTN’s so-called Chase strategy, which seeks to address issues it deems to stand in the way of financial inclusion: coverage; handsets; affordability; services; and education.

Hofker said the operator had made significant network investments to improve coverage, brought to market discount handsets, data-saving tariffs and apps, and helped in education programmes.

But, he added, to further increase efforts around this would require partnerships with authorities, suppliers and regulators in all of the aspects of the programme.

Hofker said he hoped to bring the benefits of a connected life to a greater number of citizens including access to the job market, e-learning platforms and social media, a platform he described as enabling social connectivity.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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