Africa Telecoms: Representation on the Global Stage

Africa telecoms

Nowadays, every corner of the world exhibits competition between its telecom giants, and the Africa Telecoms industry is no different. However, in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) regions, it is not a competition as much as it is exposure and representation of the community on the global stage. Orange Egypt, MTN, and Safaricom are three of the biggest telecom companies in Africa that have held a significant seat at the global telecom table, and rightfully so.

But First, Introducing…

In Africa, the telecommunications industry has experienced exponential growth. These Africa Telecoms provide a wide array of services, including mobile telephony, ground-breaking mobile money transfer, consumer electronics, e-commerce, cloud computing, data, music streaming, and fiber optics.

Orange Egypt

Orange Egypt for Telecommunications, the Egyptian joint stock company, was founded on March 4th, 1998. Following the license obtained in this regard, the service provides coverage for subscribers both in Egypt and abroad. Furthermore, it provides telecommunication services to multinational companies under the Orange Business Services brand.

The business develops, implements, maintains and operates a digital cellular mobile telecommunication system. In addition, it sells and distributes scratch cards, mobile equipment, mobile lines, mobile maintenance, and mobile accessories.


Established in 1993 and headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, Safaricom Plc (Safaricom) is an integrated communications company offering mobile and fixed voice, short messaging service (SMS), data, and internet services. Not only that, but the business provides a wide range of devices, including handsets, mobile broadband modems, routers, tablets, and accessories.

The business runs through a network of retail stores, distribution centers, and enabled base stations. Additionally, it offers M-PESA, a service that allows users to send money using their mobile devices. Its main targets are businesses, small and medium enterprises, and corporate organizations. Furthermore, it markets its goods under the Safaricom, Safaricom Platinum, Safaricom Digital TV, and DigiFarm brands.


MTN Group Ltd. provides integrated telecommunication services offering data, voice, digital, wholesale, FinTech, and enterprise services. This company was one of the first South African telecom operators, founded in 1994 and headquartered in Roodepoort, South Africa. Additionally, the company provides the following:

  • Cloud Services: cloud marketplace, data center hosting, domain management, server virtualization, directory services, and web hosting.
  • IoT Services: IoT connectivity, data analytics, IoT vertical applications, and device management
  • Security Services: Vulnerability assessment, managed firewall, device security, penetration testing, endpoint protection, and email security.

The company has a significant presence in South Africa telecom market as well as in Nigeria, East Africa, Ghana, West and Central Africa, the Middle East, and North Africa.

Africa Telecoms: Services and Connectivity

Orange Egypt

Being the smallest of the three in the telecom industry in Africa, Orange Egypt offers a limited selection of services in terms of telecom. It provides voice and data exchange services and 4G, 3G, ADSL, and broadband internet. In addition, they offer a diverse range of services, including but not limited to:

  • Orange E-health: To provide Orange customers with a hassle-free experience when it comes to matters regarding Covid-19 or any medical/health matter, Orange partnered with Tabibi247 in cooperation with various hospitals.
  • My Orange Egypt: This app allows users to follow up on their consumption and control their line.


This company is one of the few Kenyan telecom operators in Africa. It provides services for mobile telephony, mobile money transfer, consumer electronics, eCommerce, cloud computing, data, music streaming, and fiber optics. Consequently, it is best known for being the origin of the SMS-based mobile banking service M-PESA.


MTN Telecom South Africa provides GSM, UMTS, HSPA+ (21.1 Mbit/s), HSUPA (42 Mbit/s, 2100 MHz), VOIP, 3G, 4G, LTE, and 5G services. On December 1st, 2011, MTN became the second mobile service provider in South Africa to offer 4G and LTE. On June 30th, 2020, they became the first network operator in South Africa to roll out a live, public 5G network accessible in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

Africa Telecoms: Speed

Orange Egypt

Orange Egypt internet has the fastest download speed, at 32 Mbps, according to the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority’s (NTRA) monthly quality of service (QoS) report on data services in Egypt, which examines the performance of the country’s four mobile operators in 81 cities and districts.


Ookla claims that Safaricom was the fastest mobile operator in Kenya during Q3 2021, with a “Speed Score” of 29.20, based on information gathered from its speed-tracking tool. The median download speed reached 22.19 Mbps.


As for MTN, it had a 4G performance of 124.74 Mbps in terms of average download speed. And MTN scored upload speeds of 25.41 Mbps. Speeds increased significantly on 5G. MTN had an average of 445.79 Mbps, and upload speeds increased to around 85 Mbps.

Highlights of 2022

Yes, these companies have exceptional networks with modern infrastructure. But they have also committed themselves to enhance their communities.

Orange Egypt

Back in 2015 and in the presence of 193 nations (including the EU) at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21), Orange Egypt for telecommunications announced the beginning of its fairly ambitious journey of achieving “zero carbon” by 2040. As a result, the company unveiled its massive efforts over many years to achieve its ambitious goal of carbon neutrality at COP27 in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The company is amazingly close to achieving this goal. It is, in fact, ahead of schedule after Orange Egypt has invested half a billion pounds in cutting-edge technologies that help with emissions reduction and energy rationalization in its buildings, branches, networks, stations, and the entire chain of operations throughout Egypt, keeping in mind the implementation of all carbon neutrality standards approved by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for telecommunications companies,

Over the past two years, Orange Egypt has successfully operated a significant number of towers and stations entirely on solar energy. In addition, Orange Egypt has converted hundreds of sites to use hybrid energy by installing contemporary generators that use less diesel while also attempting to charge high-efficiency lithium batteries. This switch translates to a more than 55 percent reduction in the number of conventional generators and a daily operating time of fewer than 6 hours for each generator. With millions of liters of diesel avoided, these technologies undoubtedly reduced diesel use by 50 percent, affecting the environment and climate.


M-Pesa processed 2,000 transactions per second in the most recent financial year, up from 1,800 the year before. It facilitated 15.75 billion transactions through M-Pesa in the past year, worth 250 billion USD, a significant increase from 11.68 billion transactions in 2021, worth 186 billion USD.

The telco has also developed beyond just person-to-person money transfers over time and increased the number of services offered by M-Pesa. It now provides merchant payments, bill payments, cross-border money transfers, savings and loan products, and e-commerce.

M-Pesa is now accepted by more than 3.2 million businesses in Kenya, up from 2 million in 2021, and there are over 492,700 active Lipa na M-Pesa merchants, which is almost 200,000 more than a year ago.

According to the company, Kenyans’ access to formal financial services has reportedly increased thanks significantly to Safaricom’s M-Pesa service. Furthermore, it has also considerably contributed to financial inclusion in all African markets where it is available.

The operator stated that before the launch of M-Pesa, only 27% of Kenyans had access to formal financial services. In comparison, 32% had access to informal financial services, including loans from informal money lenders, and 41% of Kenyans wholly shut out of the financial system a decade ago.


The second-largest mobile network operator in South Africa reported last November that its subscriber base had grown by 800,000 in the first nine months of 2022. It now has 35.9 million subscribers in total.

According to MTN South Africa, improved customer value propositions and higher gross additions were the main drivers of the growth. These factors encouraged customer retention. Postpaid subscribers increased by 10.4% to 8.0 million due to demand for integrated voice and data-centric plans, while prepaid subscribers rose by 7.5% to 27.9 million.

The company added 483 new sites in South Africa as the race for 5G supremacy heats up. This is countered by the country’s telcos finally acquiring spectrum bands through the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (ICASA) 5G spectrum auction in March of this year.

By September 30th, 2022, MTN SA’s fintech division had 1.1 million monthly active users and 5.5 million new mobile money subscribers, a 136% increase. In 2022, 2.5 million people downloaded its app.

Despite what the company called a “tough macro-environment,” MTN SA’s results showed an overall 0.7% increase in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA).

2023 Goals: Shooting for The Moon

The Telecom industry in Africa for 2023 is very promising, but especially for these three household names.

Orange Egypt

Orange Egypt believes that its positive environment approach makes a difference that aligns with its core values. As a result, it is committed to the environment: significantly reducing CO2 emissions by 30% in 2025.

Orange Egypt for telecommunications is on a mission to enable its people to accelerate the digital development of Egyptian society by providing innovative solutions & unmatched customer experience.


In an interview for People Daily titled “Captains of industry reflect on 2022, set goals for 2023”, Safaricom CEO, Peter Ndegwa, discloses that their 2023 focus centers around Ethiopia with a sustainable and quality mobile network that will be a vital launch pad for nationwide digital telecommunications services to over 118 million Ethiopians.

In addition, according to Ndegwa, Safaricom hopes that obtaining an M-Pesa license will help Ethiopians achieve economic freedom and financial inclusion while utilizing mobile money for business opportunities.


The Johannesburg, South Africa-based communications provider is investing in autonomous networks to realize its vision of becoming Africa’s largest, most valuable business platform. The company is implementing mobile and fixed-access networks with self-healing, zero-touch capabilities to deliver services across the consumer, enterprise, and wholesale segments. MTN has been developing an implementation blueprint and is in the process of testing some use cases.

According to Mohamed Salah, Senior Manager, Network Operations Assurance, MTN Group, the company’s strategy, called Ambition 2025, is in line with the TM Forum’s vision for autonomous networks with self-serving, self-fulfilling, and self-assuring capabilities to offer a zero-wait, zero-touch, and zero trouble experience.

Through Ambition 2025, MTN seeks to increase performance and efficiency while lowering network complexity to manage network operations better and provide digital services to satisfy customers’ changing needs. MTN intends to offer a variety of next-generation services, such as network as a service (NaaS), fintech solutions, and an API marketplace.

Final Thoughts

The Global Telecom Stage can hold so much before certain telcos take a seat. These three Africa Telecoms, Orange Egypt, Safaricom, and MTN, have earned a seat at the table alongside their peers not only for their applications of the telecommunications standards but also for their participation in the advancements of their communities. Their dedication rang true through 2022 and is set to shine again in 2023 because, in a time of financial uncertainty, the communities they serve need these services like never before.

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