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Developing Telecoms comments on how connectivity helps fight COVID-19 in Africa

Developing Telecoms has participated in this week’s Huawei Better World Summit which explored the impact of COVID-19 globally, and examined how ICT and 5G technologies can minimize disruption and fight back against the virus while sustaining business operation.

MTN, one of Huawei’s partners at the summit, a pan-African and Middle East group headquartered in South Africa that delivers voice, data, digital and financial services to a customer base of +250 million, outlined its BRIGHT strategy comprising of 6 pillars including Best Network, Returns, Ignite Commercial Performance, Growth in Digital and Data, Hearts and Minds as well as Technology Excellence. This is helping MTN to achieve the goal of 300 million subscribers by 2022, 200 million of which will be data users, and 100 million digital services users.

During the summit, MTN’s Bernice Samuels showed how MTN recognized the onset of COVID-19 as an economic and humanitarian crisis in addition to a health crisis and was able to leverage its resources and footprint very quickly to provide help across its markets.

MTN introduced financial relief measures to support employees experiencing financial hardship, and work from home measures to continue operating the business and supporting its customers. All contact and call centres were furnished with work-from-home toolkits to keep service levels uninterrupted.

For customers, the focus was threefold:

  1. Communication around safety, prevention and preventing social stigmatization of people who were infected;
  2. Delivering relief by taking the form of like SMS or free allowances or traffic to educational institutions when they were closed, support for hospital staff, and free P2P money transfers;
  3. Support broader needs around the provision of vital supplies.

MTN also partnered with UNECA (United Nations Economic Commission in Africa) in June to enhance the ability of governments to undertake needs assessments measuring the efficacy of their communications, as well as to supplement and complement population screenings.

Digital is always spoken of as a disruptor, and the powerful shifts coming from digital are sometimes viewed as unsettling and chaotic. Developing Telecoms thinks the COVID-19 Pandemic has shown that this is wrong. Digital is not only a massive enabler to deliver convenience, safety, access, personalization and efficiency, digital can even help fight the crisis.

Developing Telecoms expects MTN will continue working with Huawei together to accelerate digital transformation capability, enabling their customers to enjoy the benefits of a modern connected digital life.

About Developing Telecoms

Developing Telecoms is the leading online news portal for telecoms in emerging markets, delivering telecommunications news and information for senior management and decision makers at network operators, governments and end users. Developing Telecoms receives 2.2 million yearly page views and gets over 760,000 yearly online visitors. Its weekly emerging markets newsletter has over 40,000 subscribers. Developing Telecoms publishes a range of special reports about telecoms in emerging markets spanning topics including 5G, IoT, Smart Cities and Last Mile Connectivity.

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