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Speaking at the Enterprise ICT Africa session at the AfricaCom conference last week, JUSTIN COLYN of MTN Business examined the impact of the changes in the telecommunications industry, and how they would impact impact telecoms players in the mobile and fixed line space.

The age of only providing connectivity is gone. Today, providing relevant solutions to add real value to businesses across all industries is what will drive the value of its industry and customers going forward.

It’s no longer a question of whether technology is a critical operational ‚utility’ to businesses ‚ much like that of electricity, telephony and water, but rather what value can be driven beyond basic requirements. Statistics show that ICT is a global market that is worth more than US$3 trillion. All this considered: it is evident that in the market today, it is no longer about just providing fast access or reliable bandwidth, but also what enterprise services can be designed and delivered through having such access to improve customer efficiencies while driving down costs.

It’s where these two concepts merge, that the changing dynamic for telecoms need to be realised ‚ and fast. While some operators are building such capabilities from scratch, MTN Business has integrated its traditional mobile and SIM services with enterprise networks and services, to deliver such value adds and has been driving hosted services, security and fixed mobile convergence into the market for the past 24 months already. ‚Based on the success of these services and the positive feedback that we have received from our customers, we encourage other players in this space to also focus on driving flexible and innovative solutions for the business market.

According to Delta Partners, the motivation of telecom operators to enter the ICT battlefield has been varied depending on the type of player. This has resulted in strategies that turn ICT into an important part of the business. Valued added solutions can be considered such a strategy, and while in Africa, poor fixed line infrastructure has affected technology capability as well as stability for mobile operators, the opportunity now, considering the recent infrastructure development and change Africa’s telecoms landscape has undergone, for the African continent and the businesses operating here are rife and should be leveraged.

MTN’s corporate experience across the continent blends uniquely with the company’s local capabilities where the business aims to design and develop solutions that merge technological innovation with business requirements. What is critical to note however is that technology investments such as these are serious business and so understanding the various market trends, opportunities and cost margins are critical. Transparency is therefore key when partnering with a provider for this purpose.

We are proud to have been a part of such an esteemed conference for Africa, as it provided us with the opportunity to share our thought leadership with the broader telecoms market. There is no doubt that technology is becoming smarter and surely it should be this exact premise that allows the telecom industry to survive? The niche of technology is in its ability to build smart business and MTN Business truly believes that for technology to achieve this, telecommunication providers need to not only be investing in enterprise services, but also offer transparency with customers, to leverage the many opportunities that exist and to become true catalysts for telecommunications and subsequently mobile growth across the continent.

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