MTN says it will reach a milestone of 4G coverage for 90% of the population in South Africa by the end of the year.
Speaking at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Tuesday (27 November), MTN South Africa CEO, Godfrey Motsa, said that the group continues to invest in its infrastructure, having spent R43.6 billion over the past four years.
He said that in 2015, 5 million people in South Africa were covered by 4G. That number has surpassed 50 million in 2018, with 11,000 sites enabled.
The operator has targeted 40 million subscribers in South Africa by 2022, which it hopes will include 30 million data users, and 20 million digital subscribers.
MTN’s most recent quarterly update showed that it had a local mobile subscriber base of 26.6 million customers.
Motsa again called for the release of spectrum. He said that the group’s effective data rate has fallen by 87% – “but its not at the level it should be,” Motsa said.
He said that the benefits of the immediate release of spectrum would enable 4G for everyone, smartphones for everyone, and affordable rates for all.
South Africa is expected to hold a long-delayed auction of 4G mobile spectrum by April.
An auction was delayed in previous years by a dispute between the government and the industry regulator over how to proceed.
The government will also offer 5G licenses by 2020.
Earlier this month, MTN and Ericsson announced the first 5G customer trial deployment in South Africa.