MTN Nigeria has unveiled plans to invest N640 billion, approximately US$1.5 billion, over the next three years to expand broadband access across the country. According to the company, this is in line with the federal government’s 2020-2025 National Broadband Plan and in support of MTN Group’s strategy, Ambition 2025: Leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.
MTN Group President and Chief Executive Officer, Ralph Mupita, who disclosed this after a three-day visit to Abuja and Lagos said “Nigeria is one of our most important markets. We have a proud history of partnering with Nigeria and Nigerians to drive faster and more inclusive growth through digital transformation.”
Earlier, Mupita had earlier disclosed that the mobile network giant would sell an additional 14 per cent stake in the company to Nigerians. The MTN Group’s President revealed that the company wants to include more Nigerians in its ownership structure. He said: “We want to deepen our ownership structure in Nigeria. We will sell another 14 per cent to Nigerian individuals and institutions. We want to have the largest retail-based shareholding in Nigeria. We want at least 2 million Nigerian shareholders, deepening our roots in Nigeria.”
Mupita during the three-day visit to Nigeria met a number of key stakeholders including President Muhammadu Buhari; Vice President Oluyemi Oluleke Osinbajo; Minister of Communications and Digital Economy Dr. Isa Ali Pantami; Executive Vice Chairman Prof Umar Garba Danbatta; as well as Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Godwin Emefiele.
The MTN Group President – who was accompanied by MTN Group Chief Financial Officer Tsholo Molefe, MTN Nigeria Chairman Ernest Ndukwe, and MTN Nigeria CEO Karl Toriola – reiterated MTN’s support for Nigeria’s plans to secure 90 per cent broadband population coverage by 2025. This, he said, aligns with MTN Group’s belief that everyone deserves the benefits of modern connected life and our work to extend digital and financial inclusion across Africa.
The delegation also welcomed Nigeria’s plans to auction 500MHz of 5G spectrum: five blocks of 100MHz in the 3500MHz band, which Mupita said would facilitate accelerated broadband access.
He said MTN Group’s plans to sell down 14 per cent of MTN Nigeria to Nigerian investors were well advanced and this would happen as soon as conditions were conducive. MTN Nigeria, in which MTN Group has a 78,8 per cent stake, sought to have the largest retail shareholder base on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where it has a market capitalisation of 3.4 trillion naira (US$8.2 billion). “To mark the 20th anniversary of MTN’s operations in Nigeria, MTN Nigeria plans to build a new flagship headquarters in Lagos,” said Mupita.