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MTN Group is a South Africa-based multinational mobile telecommunications company, operating in many African, European and Middle Eastern countries. Its head office is in Johannesburg.[1]

MTN Group's President and CEO is RS Dabengwa (from 1 April 2011).[2] The company sponsored the CAF Champions League football competition as well as APOEL F.C., winners of the Cypriot First Division in 2009 and participants in the 2009–10 UEFA Champions League.

On 18 March 2010, it was announced that MTN signed a sponsorship deal with English football Giants Manchester United F.C.[3]


MTN acquired Investcom, thereby expanding to ten more countries, mainly under the Areeba and Spacetel brands.[4]

As of early 2007, MTN is active in:

Afghanistan (Investcom)
Benin (Investcom)
Botswana (Botswana Mascom)
Cameroon (MTN Cameroon)
Republic of Congo (MTN Congo SA)
Cote d'Ivoire (MTN Cote d'Ivoire)
Cyprus (MTN Cyprus)
Ghana (Investcom, MTN Ghana)
Guinea Bissau (Investcom)
Republic of Guinea (Investcom)
Iran (MTN Irancell)
Liberia (Lonestar Cell)
Montenegro (MTN CG) [planned 2011]
Nigeria (MTN Nigeria)
Rwanda (MTN Rwanda)
South Africa (MTN South Africa)
Sudan (Investcom)
Swaziland (MTN Swaziland)
Syria (Investcom)
Uganda (MTN Uganda)
Yemen (Investcom, Spacetel)
Zambia (MTN Zambia)


MTN's competition in South Africa includes Vodacom, Cell C, Virgin Mobile and 8ta.
Talks with Bharti Airtel and Reliance Communications

In May 2008, it emerged that Bharti Airtel, an India-based telecommunications company, was exploring the possibility of buying MTN Group. The Financial Times reported that Bharti was considering offering US$19 billion for a 51% stake in MTN, which would be the largest overseas acquisition ever by an Indian firm.

Talks fell through after a few days and Bharti Airtel pulled out of the proposed deal on 24 May. Two days later, it was reported that another Indian telecommunications company, Reliance Communications is in talks with MTN for a "potential combination of their businesses." If realized, the estimated worth of the combined entity would have been $70 billion (£35 billion), with 116 million subscribers worldwide.[5][6]

On 18 July, the two companies announced that they had mutually decided to end discussions regarding the merger.
International Carrier Services

On 26 June 2009, MTN Group participated in Belgacom International Carrier Services (BICS), a subsidiary of Belgacom, by merging it with its own subsidiary, MTN ICS. BICS will function as official international gateway for all international carrier services of Belgacom, Swisscom and MTN group. These companies respectively hold 57.6%, 22.4% and 20.0% of the shares of the company.
Sale of Nigerian Stake

South African holding company Shanduka Group acquired a minority stake in MTN Group’s Nigeria business for $335 million in November 2012.[7]

MTN has been criticized for its activities in Iran's telecommunications sector. MTN has a 49 percent stake in government-controlled MTN Irancell, the second-largest mobile phone operator in Iran, and 21 percent of MTN's subscriber base is from the country. In January 2012, the U.S.-based advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) launched a campaign publicly calling for MTN to scale back its operations in Iran and end its business in the country. UANI charges that MTN technology is "enabling the Iranian government to track and locate cellphone users which it says is a violation of human rights."[8]

According to a Wall Street Journal report, during the 2009 Iranian election protests, the Chinese telecom firm Huawei carried out orders from the Iranian government on behalf of its client MTN Irancell to suspend text messaging and Skype, which is popular among political dissidents. As the anti-government protests unfolded, MTN Irancell reportedly grew more interested in acquiring location-based services, which could enable to Iranian government to track users' locations. In August 2009, the British company Creativity Software in partnership with Huawei announced that it had won a contract to supply MTN Irancell a system with location tracking capabilities.[9]

In June 2012, Reuters and the BBC reported an allegation by Chris Kilowan, a former executive for the company in Iran, that MTN Group may have been complicit in securing American telecommunications technology from Sun Microsystems, Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems on behalf of Irancell, in violation of trade sanctions against Iran. Oracle, which owns Sun Microsystems said that it was investigating and denied involvement, saying that it complies with US export laws. Hewlett-Packard issued a similar statement. MTN Group denied the allegations made against it, saying that it complied with American sanctions against Iran.[10]
See also
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Mobile telephony in Africa


^ Home. MTN Group. Retrieved on 15 August 2011. "HEAD OFFICE SOUTH AFRICA" "14th Avenue Johannesburg 2196 South Africa"
^ MTN Group management
^ Goal.com
^ Investcom – mobile communications division
^ Exit Bharti, Enter Reliance in MTN Tango – Businessweek
^ India's Reliance Communications plans merger with MTN – The Times Online
^ Shanduka Group Buys Stake in MTN Nigeria, United States: Wall Street Journal, 2012
^ "U.S. Lobby Group Seeks MTN Pullout From Iran". The Wall Street Journal. 27 January 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
^ "Chinese Tech Giant Aids Iran". The Wall Street Journal. 28 October 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
^ Paivar, Amir. "Iran mobile operator Irancell 'secures US technology'". BBC.co.uk/news. BBC.co.uk. Retrieved 6 June 2012.

External links

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2007 annual report

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