LIVE FROM GSMA MOBILE 360 SERIES – AFRICA, KIGALI: Rob Shuter, CEO of African operator group MTN (pictured), highlighted a number of key challenges faced by the mobile industry in terms of delivering a vision of a connected, inclusive, Africa.
The executive said MTN is “an organisation that believes in purpose”, adding: “The underlying belief that we have, which drives us, is essentially that everybody deserves the benefits of a modern connected life.”
Shuter said while a number of statistics show an impressive performance from Africa’s mobile market, there is still much to be done when it comes to bringing active users – who make fuller use of data services – to the internet: “As we sit here today, it’s really only between one-in-five and one-in-four people that are enjoying the benefit of the modern connected world,” he said.
The CEO said challenges fall into five categories, covered by the mnemonic “chase”: coverage; handsets; affordability; services; and education.
“We cannot tackle the challenge of bringing people into a modern digital world without addressing each of these five elements. And I’m sure you’ll appreciate as we look at the complexity of these five, that it has to be a shared objective; it is too complicated to tackle just by the government, just by the operators, just by society,” he said.
“We have challenges around coverage, we have challenges around cost-effective rural connectivity, we have challenges around the affordability of data services for entry level consumers, services still need to be built, in many markets education is a real challenge.”
“It is a lot that needs to be done, and I think the central message is that we have to work together for connectivity.”