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  • The independent

Uganda: MTN Rebrands As Telcos Turn to Tech

As the world increasingly becomes digitised, African telcos are calibrating their business models towards fully integrated digital and financial services enterprises. Continental telecoms giant MTN Group is the latest telco to go down this route.

In February, it shed its traditional branding to reflect the Group's new business strategy, Ambition 2025, the goal of which is to become a dominant provider of digital solutions in Africa.

The new identity, its second rebranding since the Group's formation in 1994, replaces the old red-and-white lettered logo with all-blue letters surrounded by an oval. A new slogan, "Y'ello", replaces its mobile-era strapline, "Everywhere you go".

Moving with the market

The global operating environment for telcos is constantly evolving. The advent of Covid-19 and the digital acceleration that came with it has heightened the importance and indispensability of connectivity for the purposes of education, teleworking and e-commerce.

The changing business landscape presents MTN with a need to diversify into digital services and to tap into data and financial services as well as infrastructure and enterprise businesses, areas that are all in the formative stages of growth in Africa.

Explaining the change, Bernie Samuels, MTN Group executive for marketing, says the company now views itself as a technology company rather than a telco.

"We are living in a completely different world. We were born into an analogue era and our customers today live in the social and digital space. Quite frankly we don't want to be left behind. Our competitor set has changed. We don't only compete with the telcos down the road, we are competing with the biggest digital brands across the planet, so it's a battle for mind share," she explains.

Centring on the youth

President and chief executive Ralph Mupita has confirmed that the Group intends to harness Africa's potential and progress by driving digital and financial inclusion. While the company remains focused on all its customers and stakeholders, Mupita says that a major part of the company's future focus will be centred on the youth.

Africa has a burgeoning young population. In 2020, almost a billion people were under the age of 35, representing about 23% of the world's youth population.

"The alignment is perfect. We are shifting from being seen as a predominantly telco business to a company that feels relevant and fresh for the youth market we are trying to target across Africa," he says.

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