The African telecoms market is changing. Covid-19 has accelerated consumer demands for connectivity and value-added services. Industry experts see operators that won’t be able to keep up disappearing in the next few years.
Ralph Mupita, Chairman and CEO of MTN, believes that the telecom markets of more than two operators will disappear in the long term. This situation is due to the fact that the mass of benefits available on the African market is not large enough to benefit all operators. He made the statement on Tuesday, April 26, during the latest “Think Big” webinar hosted by South African financial group PSG.
“ In a few years, we will see an industry dominated by two or three major players who have the capabilities and means to mobilize massive capital, locally and abroad, to support the expansion of the industry. MTN has every intention of being one of the major operators in all its markets ,” he explained. He advocates the consolidation of operators, because a saturated telecom market “ is not viable ”.
In Africa, the demand for high-speed connectivity and value-added services has increased over the past two years, putting pressure on the finances of telecom operators. Only those with real capacities to invest in the modernization and extension of their network, in order to satisfy the demand of the greatest number, will be able to survive and record growing revenues. Other operators who cannot keep pace risk seeing their subscribers migrate to the competition. This will lead to their gradual disappearance or redemption.
It should be noted that this trend has already begun to manifest itself in several markets on the continent. For example, the Gabonese and Beninese markets have gone from four telecom operators in 2014 to two currently. Ghana, which currently has four operators, is also heading towards a duopoly in its telecom market, according to the authorities. In this trend, competition forced Millicom International Cellular to withdraw from all its African markets. Africell withdrew from the Ugandan market for the same reason.