(Exclusive) MTN Group CEO: Multi country acquisitions unlikely

MTN Group CEO, Sifiso Dabengwa (image source: file photo)

MTN Group CEO Sifiso Dabengwa intends to maintain his company’s market dominance by focusing on service quality and growing the company’s 21 operations.

“We’re past the stage of major transformational deals, it’s not likely that we will look at a multi country acquisition, however we’re not completely closed to possible value creating opportunities.”

Dabengwa has been at the helm for the past 2 months following the departure of former Group President and CEO, Phuthuma Nhleko. MTN is currently the largest mobile operator in Africa due to its footprint, revenue and subscriber base.
The mobile giant remains firmly rooted in emerging markets with an enviable footprint that covers 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East.

Essence of the business

Dabengwa concedes that MTN’s success is partly due to its aggressive approach to network expansion and maintaining a high quality service.
“In our business that’s the starting point. Everything else like distribution and affordability is an added value to the customer service experience,” says Dabengwa.
Dabengwa said that MTN would continue to invest in acquiring new subscribers; but Dabengwa is cautious of over-investing and being caught without sufficient network infrastructure to cater for demand.

“ The quality of the network should never deteriorate” he emphasises.

Mobile competition

The entrance of new mobile operators such as Airtel, has led to a price war on the African continent putting pressure on ARPUs.
“Currently there are no countries without mobile licenses. The mobile space is a tougher environment and we still intend to win. The challenge is to make sure we survive it,” says Dabengwa.

Dabengwa forecasts strong growth in spite of stiff competition from rival network providers. “Some African countries have up to 6 different network providers competing for the same target market”.

“The level of competition will have a negative effect on some players in the market. In our business, scale is very important and operations that have not developed sufficient scale will probably find themselves in a more difficult situation,” he adds.

African Strategy

MTN has had a winning strategy in achieving a successful entry into the African mobile market. “Our success is a reflection of a strategy that was executed reasonably well,” says Dabengwa.
MTN’s objective is to increase share of value rather than accumulating subscribers.
“There has to be delivery of results”, says MTN’s helmsman.

South East Asia:

When pressed for comment on future plans, Dabengwa revealed that the telecoms giant has its eyes on the South East Asia market.

Bontle MoengITNewsAfrica Online Editor


  1. All the best to Mr Dabengwa, he clearly has big shoes to fill. Great article Bontle, thank you for shedding some light on Mtn.

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