MTN has detailed how the cost of doing business in South Africa has dramatically increased because of persistent load shedding and a rise in vandalism and theft of its network infrastructure.
South Africa’s telecommunications giant has temporarily halted building new network sites and rolling out 5G. Instead, it is focussing on installing back-up power, and has set aside R1.5 billion to keep the network going during load shedding.
It has been estimated that load shedding will cost the country 2 percentage points of gross domestic product, with business activity stalling as Eskom has implemented unprecedented bouts of Stage 6 power cuts.
Today, MTN Business South Africa general manager of product and capability Dr Nkosi Khumalo said load shedding was a problem for businesses.
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Kumalo said there was a lot of work that the company was doing to ensure its network remained resilient.
“In the past six months, we have really redirected our investment towards network sustainability. Load sharing has changed the way our cost structures look… We have reprioritised the network as something we need to spend money on.
“We have to make sure that we build solar panels as an alternative to the grid. We also have to make sure that we find solutions that can be more effective in terms of energy consumption, like endpoint devices that can last longer from a battery point of view.”
Kumalo is leading the MTN Business South Africa team at the inaugural edition of GITEX Africa, a tech and start-up conference in Morocco to augment collaborative pursuits and advance the continent’s race for digital excellence. It is being held from May 31 to June 2.
GITEX Africa 2023 converged more than 400 start-ups from 30 countries, presenting future-defining tech across multiple sectors, from agritech and sustainability to mobility and smart cities.
Kumalo said MTN had stamped its authority in Africa as a leading tech business since it boasted a digital arm, the core mobile, ICT, iMobile, internet of things, mobile broadband, cloud services, and unified communications collaboration services.
He said MTN hd attended GITEX Africa in order to look for leads and opportunities for people who were looking for technology solutions as they had strategic partnerships with software companies like Hewlett Packard, Microsoft, CloudBlue, Adobe and others.
“The reason why we are here is to make sure that we play with these guys that are here. There's almost 900 tech companies today. MTN is a technology company, and we are going to be part of the players in the whole ecosystem.
“We want the African market to know that we are a technology company because dominantly, we've always been seen as a mobile consumer business.
“The second thing is we are looking for strategic partnerships. We are having conversations with different partners. To us, it's really about solidifying our position, making sure that our strategic partnerships with these OEMs are strengthened.”
Kumalo said he believed that technology could play a significant role in dealing with the many social ills in South Africa, among them unemployment, crime and a lack of education.
“Technology has a role to play in addressing the social challenges of our people, and I honestly believe that if the government drives the agenda of ICT much harder, it will definitely make a big difference and attract enough investments and make our investments as a telco more meaningful and impactful.
“The business world is trying so hard to partner with the political world to really invest for progress. I honestly believe that if we allow emerging technology to start being embraced and adopted, we would break beyond just the South African conversation.”