South Africa: MTN to keep extending 3G coverage area


MTN last week released its interim results for the six months ended 30 June 2010, showing subscriber growth across many of its operations. MTN CEO Phuthuma Nhleko also discussed infrastructure and data highlights for the company’s local operations, saying that 140 2G and 108 3G base stations were added over the last six months. 

Nhleko added that MTN South Africa currently has 99% 2G population coverage and 48% 3G population coverage.  MTN is however not applying the breaks just yet.  The company is planning to pick up its rollout in the second half of the year, and is also pushing forward with its fibre network deployment.

According to the MTN CEO 440km on their Durban to Johannesburg route - which forms part of the joint MTN/Neotel/Vodacom national fibre network – has been trenched.  The company’s Gauteng fibre network’s northern ring and southern ring were also completed.

This increased investment in infrastructure bodes well for MTN’s increased focus on data services.  The company has shown a 49% increase in data usage since December 2009, and with increased smartphone and broadband penetration this trend is likely to continue.

Nhleko further indicated that MTN – which has already signed a roaming agreement with Telkom Mobile – will look at more infrastructure sharing as the market share stabilizes in the mobile environment.