MTN Nigeria to invest US$40 million in rural telephony

Phuthuma Nhleko, MTN Group CEO
MTN Nigeria says it plans to invest about US$40 million (about R276 million) to connect 350 Nigerian rural communities with telephony services.

Head of MTN Nigeria — one of the leading GSM operators in Nigeria — Ahmed Farrouk said the initiative would enable MTN to extend telephone services to more than 40 million Nigerians who are still not connected to basic mobile telephony.

Farrouk said after more than nine months of surveys and research by the MTN team, it was discovered that there were 350 rural villages where no telecom service existed.

He said that it was based on the research and survey that villages were selected from across the country to be connected in the next few months.

“Our goal is to cover every village in Nigeria,” said Farrouk. “The first phase will see 350 villages covered before end of May 2011 via the support of our strategic partner, Huawei Technologies, while the second phase whose planning is already under way will see the coverage of 500 additional villages at the end of next year or by 2012” .

He further explained that the villages were selected based on the absence of telephony as well as proximity of the communities to each other to effect MTN facility sharing for cost effectiveness.

Farrouk said the best available technology would be deployed to ensure that the villages get quality telephone services.
The move by MTN would also create employment opportunities. These would come from engaging distributors while others would be incorporated in securing the facilities that would be put in place in the villages.


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