The MTN South Africa mobile network

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MTN is the second most popular cellular network in South Africa, and the MTN Group makes it the biggest cellular network in Africa. MTN is also the biggest cellular network brand in Africa and a major global player in the telecommunications industry.

By taking its cue from the MTN Group’s strategy of building digital solutions, MTN SA is growing its business to include the converged services sector, building digital platforms, and investing in connectivity infrastructure. It is focusing on becoming a business and consumer telecommunications enabler.

With MTN and MTN Business being a telecommunications digital business behemoth in Africa, let’s take a look at MTN’s South Africa consumer operations more closely.

How did MTN get to where it is now?

MTN started operating as M-Cell after being formed in part by the South African government back in 1994. Built to compete with Vodacom, it quickly started working to construct its cell stations and develop itself to become a formidable competitor to the much bigger at the time Vodacom.

MTN stands for Mobile Telecommunications Network.

By 1996 MTN was positioning itself as the businessman’s tool. With a cellphone in one hand and a briefcase in the other, a business person was ready to take on the world with support from MTN’s growing cellular network coverage and international roaming capabilities.

Offering mobile internet, voice calls, cellphones contracts, and other telecommunication tools the MTN Group was on its way to building a world-class cellular network in Africa and the Middle East, and securing over 290 million subscribers by the end of 2023!

Whilst unveiling a new logo in February 2022 MTN introduced its current strategy called “Ambition 2025”, which saw them double down on their ambition to be the number one stop for consumer and business digital solutions.

MTN’s new logo was unveiled in February 2022. Image source: mtn.co.za

MTN’s products and services available in South Africa

The mobile internet connection is one of the most important communication tools for the growth of Africa. With 75% of all internet users in South Africa accessing the internet on their mobile device it stands to reason that a good, stable, and fast connection fuels much of South Africa’s economy.

Some of the products and services that MTN offers to its regular consumer include:

Home and mobile internet

With one of the most world’s advanced cellular network technologies and wide network coverage in South Africa, it is often the go-to for urbanites who require a fast and stable cellular connection.

The latest 2022 internet speed test conducted by mybroadband indicates that MTN has an average internet speed of 125mbps. Their 5G speed topped 446mbps, which, MTN says, has been rolled out to more than 1000 internet users across. It is considered the fastest cellular network in South Africa.

MTN has split its internet offerings into:

  • 5G
  • Fixed LTE (FLTE)
  • Fibre to the Home (FTTH)
  • LTE/4G
  • 3G, and
  • 2G

We have discussed MTN’s 5G and FLTE home internet packages in detail and found that they have produced a very good product line.

A Huawei 5G router for the home, similar to one MTN will provide for home use.
A Huawei 5G router for the home, similar to one MTN will provide for home use. Image: huawei.com

Apart from getting inclusive value mobile data bundles and fixed uncapped LTE data bundles with a data contract, topping up data bundles is a breeze for MTN subscribers. The options to buy, transfer or share data on the network are plentiful.

We have also rated MTN as having the cheapest uncapped LTE in South Africa.

Cellphones on prepaid and contract

Back in the early 1990’s mobile phones used to be ugly, humungous, and expensive all at the same time. You would have to make a somewhat substantial investment if you wanted to buy a cellphone. What South African companies devised was to reduce to barrier to owning a cellular phone by helping you finance a phone over 24 months.

You would then take out a contract to buy a cellphone and own it outright by the end of the contract term.

So, the initial plan for cellphone contracts was to finance the cellphone by reducing the initial investment needed. But, of course, more benefits were added to help convince the user that it was the best way to get a cellphone. This was done by bundling a contract with call minutes and SMS bundles.

MTN sells cellphones by offering them through a prepaid once-off upfront payment method or in an inclusive bundle that includes a cellphone. They also have developed a process where you can apply for a cellphone contract online, and upgrade your contract, all with online credit vetting and approval.

Today, one of the ways to afford expensive flagship smartphones like the Samsung S22 Ultra or Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max is to get one bundled in a contract.

Financial services

Although not originally what it was built for, MTN offers financial services such as a mobile money wallet and device insurance.

MTN’s mobile money wallet is called MTN MoMo, and it is more popular in continental Africa than in South Africa. Locally it competes with banking giants so it has not been able to penetrate the mobile money market very well.

MoMo has some great services:

  • Send and receive money within the MoMo environment
  • Withdraw and deposit cash into your MoMo account
  • Buy other services using money in the MoMo account, such as electricity and airtime

MTN digital platforms

Before the advancement of smartphone technology we all had to rely on USSD codes to interact with MTN, the most prized services included ringtones, and we received most of our content via SMS.

We have moved on from USSD to using apps like the MTN app to interact with MTN. Our ringtones are music which we can download over the internet. And, our content has changed to include chatting on the Ayoba app.

MTN and the Mobile Virtual Network Operator

Cell C and Telkom Mobile used MTN’s network infrastructure when they started as mobile network operators, relying on the network’s massive and stable infrastructure to handle its infrastructure needs. Cell C is not investing in its physical infrastructure anymore, it says.

It is now relying on MTN’s network to provide network services to its customers. Cell C is now seemingly turning into a Mobile Virtual Network Operator and leaving all its network technology needs to MTN. Essentially, MTN is now the backbone of the half dozen MVNO’s dotted around South Africa.

MTN Sponsorships

MTN is the South African Springbok’s headline sponsor right through to the year 2025. The Boks have not disappointed the telecoms brand by producing a stellar performance in the Castle Lager Rugby Championship against Wales.

Soccer lovers have also not been left behind, with MTN sponsoring the MTN8, which is a tournament for the top 8 finishing clubs of the PSL. Mamelodi Sundowns won the latest 2021 MTN8 tournament.

The 2021 MTN 8 tournament, for which MTN is the headline sponsor.
The 2021 MTN 8 tournament, for which MTN is the headline sponsor. Image: instagram.com/thatomoeng

Here is what MTN offers for your business

MTN’s wide range of services include:

  • Cloud Solutions, which include data centre services and cloud services
  • Managed network solutions, which include the provision of internet services like broadband, data (LTE, 5G/4G/3G), VPN, converged network services, and other fixed line internet solutions
  • Unified communications services, like PBX and Video conferencing, bulk messaging, Software as a Service, and also Internet of Things solutions
  • A full suite of security services under Security as a Service, which will provide web, mail, and mobile security

MTN’s most important contacts details

  • Customer Care from an MTN number, dial 135
  • Customer Care from an any other network’s number: Dial 083 135
  • Contact the MTN Sales department by calling MTN Direct: 083 123 3667
  • MTN WhatsApp number: 083 123 0011
  • Email: customercare@mtn.com
  • To view all MTN USSD services dial from your MTN SIM card *130*0#

Official MTN Social Media

You’re able to communicate with MTN on their social media platforms to make enquiries or even conclude transactions by chatting with an agent on their social media pages:

  • Contact an MTN agent on their official Facebook page: Facebook.com/MTNza
  • Chat to an MTN agent sending a DM on the official MTN Twitter/X Corp page: x.com/MTNza/
  • Browse jobs from MTN South Africa or learn more about the organization on LinkedIn: LinkedIn.com/company/MTN

Physical Address

MTN Proprietary Limited 
Innovation Centre 
216 14th Avenue 
Fairland 
Roodepoort
Gauteng
South Africa
2195

MTN Business Contact Numbers

MTN Business Customer Care: 083 1800/087 740 4040
Fax +27 (0)11 912 4093
Email mtnbusiness@mtn.com; smecustomercare@mtn.com

MTN Shops Operating Hours

Monday: 8 am – 5 pm
Tuesday: 8 am – 5 pm
Wednesday: 8 am – 5 pm
Thursday: 8 am – 5 pm
Friday: 8 am – 5 pm
Saturday: 9 am – 1 pm
Sunday: Closed, but MTN shops at malls are open from 9am until late
Public Holidays – Closed

MTN Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: Who is the current MTN CEO?

A: The current CEO of the MTN in 2024 is Ralph Mutipa. Mutipa is the CEO o the MTN Group PTY LTD, which is the international MTN group with MTN South Africa in its group. Mutipa took over from Rob Shuter in September 2020.

Q: Who is the current MTN CEO for South Africa?

A: The CEO of MTN South Africa is Charles Molapisi. He is the MTN group’s former Chief Technology and Information Officer, and in 2022 he was appointed to take over as the CEO of MTN South Africa in one of Africa’s most important economies.

Moemedi Segoje

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