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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

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MTN emerges as most valuable brand in SA as Molapisi highlights road from telco to tech

MTN head office in Fairland, Johannesburg. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

MTN head office in Fairland, Johannesburg. Photo: Simphiwe Mbokazi

Published Aug 4, 2022


MTN has emerged as the Most Valuable Brand in South Africa for 2022 in the Kantar BrandZ ranking after increasing its brand value by 85 percent to $3.7 billion (R62.5bn) year-on-year.

The statement yesterday came as Charles Molapisi, MTN SA’s chief executive, speaking to journalists ahead of the company releasing its results next week, said that MTN was working hard at transforming the business from being a telecommunications business to a technology company.

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“We are very proud of our performance, which highlights the hard work undertaken over the past year. Not only are we are embarking on a future-ready transformation and expansion into a platform business under our Ambition 2025 strategy, but we have also been investing heavily in disruptive technologies to transform our brand from a telco into a techco,” he said.

The significant increase in brand value has seen MTN SA jump four places to rank number one for the first time.

MTN was also recognised as Most Valuable Brand in SA by Brand Finance in April.

Molapisi said that for the technology migration to be successful there needed to be “information technology intensity”. MTN had to build what it could deliver, cloud capabilities, and machine learning capabilities.

In February, MTN, which has a R266bn market value, unveiled its new business strategy, Ambition 2025, with the group’s goal to become a dominant provider of digital solutions in Africa.

Molapisi said: “There are aspects that we need to build to try to prepare ourselves for the technology migration. We are morphing, there’s a lot of focus around how we prepare ourselves to become this technology business going forward.”

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He said MTN’s network was resilient and could manage the challenge of load shedding.

“We think we have it relatively under control, so we’re not struggling as management to manage the effects of load shedding. It’s challenging, it’s a lot of sleepless nights for the guys,” he said.

He said MTN’s plans to manage load shedding had different phases depending on which stage load shedding was on.

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“Eskom is a default that we get, then we have batteries, and thirdly there is solar, so there are multiple layers. Our resiliency plan is very solid,” he said.

Molapisi said he had also attended a meeting with Eskom’s chief executive, André de Ruyter, at the JSE, which left him feeling hopeful that solutions to load shedding could be found.

He also said the announcement made by President Cyril Ramaphosa, asking the private sector to step in and help in finding solutions to the electricity crisis of the country, was encouraging.

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“As MTN we support and buy into it. We are looking at how are we going to play a role,” Molapisi said.

He said MTN could achieve its ambition of being net zero by 2030.

“By bringing green energy, I think this should be able to address the challenge of load shedding. Hopefully, as more people inject into the grid, then we can start to manage the process of load shedding. But I must say I am optimistic,” Molapisi said.

He said another constant big problem that MTN was fighting was vandalism.

“There is a real issue. We are working with the relevant authorities on an industrial solution, how can we consolidate this industry in terms of how we manage this for ourselves?

“That’s a major concern. A lot of work is being done, and we’re comfortable that we will make progress,” he said.