MTN Ghana’s steady top line growth, despite mounting competition and a challenging operational environment, fed through to a healthy contribution to national development, in 2012, in addition to customer-centric improvements.
Despite a slight decline in market share to 50.5%, the leading telecommunicationsservices provider added on 1.6 million more subscribers and made a total tax contribution of GHC448, 659,443.
MTN’s significant contribution to government’s revenue mobilisation is better appreciatedwhen viewed from the perspective that for every GHC1 spent by a customer, 31% goes to taxes, including VAT, NCA, GIFEC, frequency charges, and income tax, which in 2010 for instance, accounted for 6.9% of total government tax revenues.Data from the company shows it has created about 500,000 direct and indirect employment, thus supporting local empowerment and job creation.
MTN has over 1,600 direct employees and strong regional distribution structures and ecosystems supporting approximately 260,000 employed in the distribution chain as dealers, sub-dealers, retailers, and canvassers, among others, in addition to employment generated by its partners and suppliers.
MTN’s support of local suppliers in the supply chain is reflected in its local content component; tender evaluation processes that have a weighted preferential scoring for locally based vendors with proven affinity to MTN Ghana’s business.
Presently, the printing of recharge cards locally is also contributing to local content development while the company’s mobile money service is helping in promoting a cashless economy.
On the cultural front, MTN supported 15 traditional festivals in 2012 and plans to support 20 for 2013. Its MTN Branded Festival Activation, which has a regionalized approach includes unique festival platforms created for greater affinity with locals , These are; Ashanti Fest for the Ashanti Region, Suncity Fest for BrongAhafo Region, Koftown Fest for Eastern Region, and Savannafest for Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions, as well as Oil City Fest for Western Region.
Some of the events that have been activated through these celebrations include; Walk-a-thon, Health Screening, Community Football Gala, musical shows, Retailers’ Forum, and Movie Mania Nights.
Another bespoke initiative at supporting the country’s development is the establishment of the MTN Ghana Foundation, which up to date has registered GHC11 million in corporate social investments, impacting over 10 million Ghanaians.
The Foundation’s focus is on health, education, and economic empowerment. Twenty five major projects have been executed under health portfolio, including health facility construction or refurbishments, medical equipment donations, 15 projects geared towards improving maternal and child health care delivery, and financial support for individual health issues including heart and kidney diseases, among others.
Others are water and sanitation interventions such as the drilling of bore-holes and training in hygienic living, the bi-annual organization of blood donation exercises to augment blood banks’ stock, and emphasis on preventive health and malaria intervention programmes.
The Foundation has also undertaken 50 major projects executed under education portfolio, including the construction of over 60 classrooms, 12 offices, 4 libraries, 2 dormitory blocks, and 24 ICT centers to meet community needs.
Classrooms blocks have been provided in 12 communities to achieve universal primary education and reduce the number of schools under trees, with scholarships awarded to over 1,000 needy beneficiaries.
Additionally, there have been capacity building to improve teaching and learning methods among students, teachers and parents and the MTN Foundation has been the National Best Teacher Award gold sponsor six years running, while also promoting child literacy through sponsorship of Spelling Bee, Joy Reading Club, AED Literacy and Numeracy programme.
On the economic empowerment front, the Foundation has focused on its Alternative Livelihood Project under which it has distrusted150 motorized disabled tri-cycles, solar-enabled panels to provide power for charging of customer handsets, and sales points for airtime, SIM cards, SIM registration and mobile money registration.
MTN has been resolute in pushing customer centric improvements, albeit against the backdrop of an ever-challenging environment.
The industry’s generally dynamic capital-intensive character coupled with a rapidly changing landscape and technology is having a telling effect on service delivery and this is compounded by the incidence of intense multi-SIMming, which dilutes penetration
While the high cost of operations and pressure from increased taxation and levies is an ever present burden, permitting delays, including the Rights of Way and environmental certification, among a host of others, has had a drag on service delivery. Critical sites planned to provide capacity and coverage in identified areas have failed to be built due to acquisition and community agitation problems and delays
Frequent fiber cuts and high utility rates amid electricity disruptionsare all contributing to quality of service problems: While the frequent power disruptions caused equipment failure and, service disruptions, it also increased expenditure on diesel.
Then also are the challenges with exchange rate and inflation: Most of telecoms equipment are procured in foreign currency while MTN’s revenues are in Ghana cedis. The industry has had to absorb general inflationary trends, charging lower tariffs to consumers, even when its own cost components had been growing, putting a strain on performance.
MTN’s response to the tough operating environment has been to beef up its customer care,reflected in a strong force of 573 customer care agents coupled with improvements in customer care centers. The company has rolled out customer transformation initiatives, introduced Twitter and Facebook in the effort to educate and resolve customer complaints, as well as providing a feedback line and queuing management system to manage customers better in decreasing transaction and waiting times.
MTN also plans to increase its current 77 branches nationwide, serving customers, to 81 by the end of 2013, among several other initiatives to expand its customer center footprint across country.
Going forward, MTN is focusing on the delivery of bold digital services, continuous improvement in the network, the rollout of innovative products and services and improved customer experience.
Additionally, it aims to provide more relevant value added services, form partnership with relevant stakeholders and push continuous investment in communities in which it operates, all in the effort to retain its legitimacy and continue to ride the crest of the Ghanaian telecommunication industry.