MTN Group said on Thursday that it has topped 100 million active data customers technically, 100 million Sims with an active data connection –for the first time.
The telecommunications group, which operates in 21 markets across Africa and the Middle East, has a total subscriber base of 257 million, meaning that 39% is connected to the Internet.
“The group is overcoming the barriers to greater mobile Internet adoption by extending its 3G and 4G coverage, accelerating smartphone adoption and transforming prices,” it said in an e-mailed statement.
MTN said it now covers 480 million people with services capable of connecting them to the Internet. However, about 60% of rural populations in Africa remain unconnected.
To support smartphone adoption, in 2019 MTN distributed 675 000 cheap, data-enabled handsets across 12 markets. It also launched a digital literacy programme in nine markets.
Data pricing is also key, it said. In 2018 and 2019, MTN reduced entry-level data rates across its footprint by 60%.