The question ICT providers and regulators alike have to ask themselves is whether they have created a climate conducive to meeting the demands and expectations of the mobile consumers of the future, Themba Khumalo, MTN Group Operations Executive, said yesterday.
Khumalo was speaking at the 11th Innovation Africa Digital Summit (IAD), which was officially opened by the Ethiopian Minister of Industry, Mekonnen Manyzewal.
Taking place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Khumalo’s address focused on market opportunities and challenges facing mobile network operators in the 21st century. Ethiopia is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with a strong focus on developing a major and sustainable ICT industry.
Under the theme ‘National Broadband Agendas – Acceleration and Alignment’, the IAD Summit is a unique gathering of more than 300 high-level decision-makers in the ICT industry across government, the regulatory environment and business.
Khumalo said it is the responsibility of mobile operators to enable consumers to be part of an exciting bold new digital world, where ICT solutions exceed users’ expectations.
“The consumer of the future doesn’t want to just make a call or send an SMS. This user wants to access the Internet at faster speeds, pay bills online, transfer money to loved ones wherever they are without enduring long queues, and also be able to get the latest in global sports, news, and entertainment information - all from their handset,” he told delegates.
He said ICT providers can achieve this by continuously investing in their infrastructure, staying ahead of the innovation curve, and always putting the customer first. This is enabled by the selection of a development partner with a solid track record and capacity to operate in the African continent.
With a footprint that spans 22 countries in Africa and the Middle East, MTN also has a presence in Ethiopia through a recently acquired Value-Added Services (VAS) license. Plans are already underway to launch a bouquet of value-added services.
MTN has also partnered with an ICT education institution for capacity building purposes, to support the country’s initiative to produce its next generation of ICT innovators who will revolutionarise Ethiopia’s already dynamic ICT industry.
Happy-Girl Buthelezi, Country Manager, MTN Ethiopia, participated in a panel discussing “Overcoming Infrastructure Finance and Access Problems”. In the discussion, Buthelezi pointed out that “regulators hold the key to unlocking broadband infrastructure access challenges and removing barriers to growth”.