MTN SA Gives ICASA Auction Update – Spends $440M on Spectrum

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MTN announced on Thursday that it had secured the high-demand spectrum required for its 4G and 5G network expansion drive from the highly anticipated ICASA spectrum auction.

ICASA announced that MTN had successfully secured the following spectrum bands:

  • 2 x 10 MHz in 800 MHz – R2,933 billion ($300 million)
  • 40 MHz of 2600 MHz – R1,093 billion ($67 million)
  • 40 MHz of 3500 MHz – R1,127 billion ($73 million)

“This is a significant milestone, not only for MTN and the telecommunication industry at large but also for South Africa’s digital future. Spectrum is the lifeblood of our industry and is key to reliable and extensive connectivity for our customers across the country,” said MTN SA’s CEO, Charles Molapisi.

“Our multibillion-rand investment into this much-needed spectrum is also an important injection of cash into the national fiscus. In anticipation of the spectrum allocation, we had undertaken a modernisation of our network to ensure that we would be ready to leverage this spectrum to the connectivity benefit of South Africans as quickly as possible,” he added.

MTN will use the spectrum to expand 5G connectivity on South Africa’s network while also further enhancing rural, peri-urban, and urban network coverage. The spectrum allocation will also allow for greater value for customers, supporting MTN’s consistent push in recent years to lower the cost to communicate.

Molapisi pointed to the use of temporary spectrum as a case study of how MTN would use its allocated spectrum. The regulator’s allocation of the temporary spectrum during the national state of disaster in South Africa during the 2020 – 2021 period of the COVID-19 pandemic gave MTN extra network capacity to provide more than four million people access to free health and education websites each month and allowed the operator to reach deeper into small towns and particularly rural communities, that were previously underserviced due to the lack of the required spectrum.

Currently, MTN has 96% of the population of SA covered by MTN’s 4G network and their spectrum allocation promises even greater reach, coverage, and speeds.

“Our core belief at MTN is that everyone deserves the benefit of a modern connected life, and this spectrum allocation is a huge step in helping us bring that to life,” Molapisi said.


Edited by Zintle Nkohla

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