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MTN and Airtel CEOs on the profitability of African mobile network operators


Sifiso Dabengwa, CEO of MTN Group, and Manoj Kohli, CEO of Airtel Africa appeared on the Sub-Saharan Africa regional focus panel at Mobile World Congress 2013. Here are the highlights of their contribution

“The mobile market in Africa has had ten to fifteen years of good growth. Penetration levels are at 50%, but with up to 30% of consumers using multiple SIMs, real penetration is below 50%. Nonetheless data penetration, internet penetration, is still no more than 10%, so overall the opportunity is still very significant,” declared MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa.

Challenges to long term sustainability identified by Dabengwa included aggressive price competition (“operators selling product below cost is a bit of a problem”), and the need to avoid regulations stifling the industry, as seen in Europe where the market capitalisation of telecoms companies is in many cases in decline.


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