MTN takes another bet to bring Fiber to Homes

BY: Isaac Yeboah
Ebenezer Asante, MTN Chief Executive
Ebenezer Asante, MTN Chief Executive

Ghanaian telecoms leading player MTN Ghana is taking yet another huge leap into uncharted territory to bring internet via fiber to every locality, business doorstep and home, pointing the direction of what it says will soon be an industry trail.

And the company has the explosive success stories of its immediate past innovations to back its conviction that it is on point to predict what is to be trendy in the coming five years.

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“When MTN launched 3G there was no historical success. When MTN launched mobile financial services there was no historical success. When MTN launched even 4G on mobile, there was no historical success,” was the bold retort offered by Chief Executive Ebenezer Asante when Graphic Online reached him on the sidelines of MTN’s annual Stakeholder Engagement, for what crystal ball his company was looking into to take the bet on fiber-to-homes.

Explaining what the fiber-to-home agenda entails, he said MTN is looking at a two-prong approach - to serve SMEs with fiber to enable them run their businesses, and also serve homes that require high internet capacity “so that whether it’s entertainment, information, education, they are able to also rely on our fiber and as we indicated today, we have taken fiber in front of about 20,000 homes.

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“The next work is to ensure that as many of these homes are connected to the fiber and once that is done as phase one, then we scale it up and take fiber to more homes and that is the meaning of taking a bet on fiber to home.”

MTN’s other key role in this rollout, will be “how to commercialize the content that may be available and to ensure that at the end of the day, we are able to translate technology from the hard stuff into ways that can make sense to the ordinary Ghanaian and that is what we are doing.”

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Shedding light on MTN Ghana’s 2018 expansion and improvement projects, estimated at $144 million, he said the company plans to rollout 230 LTE new sites for coverage and capacity extension, 200 rural sites for coverage extension, 695km fiber rollout, 1100 new 3G network sites to improve population coverage by 27%, as well as other network and sites upgrades.

Shedding light on MTN’s contributions to national revenue and general development, he said the company has in the past five years contributed 22 percent of total national fiscal stabilization levy (NFSL), as well as 50 percent of CST, quoting Ministry of Finance sources.

The company also estimates to be providing some 500,000 jobs through an ecosystem of partnerships and suppliers. Beyond its internal staff, dealers and distributors, there are others in public relations agencies, media houses, printing companies, content providers and hosts of others in the hospitality, shipping, music, insurance, medical, legal, housing and security industries.

As many as 142 projects in education, health and economic empowerment have been undertaken through its MTN Ghana Foundation investments, costing about $13 million and impacting about four million directly and indirectly.

With active wallets of 8.3 million people and an end of year 2018 expected 100,000 Mobile Money pay points, Mr. Asante said MTN aims to create the biggest platform across Africa.