Home Big Story MTN Nigeria CEO: Telecoms now powers Nigeria

MTN Nigeria CEO: Telecoms now powers Nigeria

MTN Nigeria CEO: Telecoms now powers Nigeria
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Mr Mike Ikpoki, MTN Nigeria CEO says that telecoms is now central to Nigerians and service providers no longer technology companies but key drivers of the economy.

[blockquote right=”pull-right” cite=”Mike Ikpoki, CEO of MTN Nigeria”]Artists used to release albums and never get the value of their labour. Today, by using digital platforms we are able to enable they get benefits for what they are doing. We are in a very interesting development cycle and we are going to continue thinking about newer and newer and more efficient ways to make our customers lives a lot brighter. We cannot do that alone.[/blockquote]
Ikpoki, the first Nigerian CEO of MTN Nigeria, the biggest mobile phone company by subscriber numbers and profitability, who took a 360 degree views of the contributions of telecoms in the country, reckons that its only electricity services that comes close in competing for impact that telecoms has on the lives of Nigerians.

Engr Gbenga Adebayo, Founder of CNSSL Contact Centre Ltd and Mr Mike Ikpoki, CEO of MTN Nigeria, during the visit
Engr Gbenga Adebayo, Founder of CNSSL Contact Centre Ltd and Mr Mike Ikpoki, CEO of MTN Nigeria, during the visit

“Today in Nigeria, the only thing that competes for the kind of service that we provide is electricity and it is very erratic. The service we provide is at the very center of people’s lives and it is so important. I believe you see what is happening in our industry. Going forward we are thinking continuously of new ways by which we can make the lives of our customers brighter”, the MTN Nigeria CEO said.

According to Ikpoki, “If we think about it, the very heart of a customer’s life today in Nigeria revolves around his phone. You can leave home without your car keys but you can’t leave home without your phone and it’s going to get even more exciting because we are going to be looking at newer ways by which we’ll make lives of our customers brighter.”

Ikpoki said this during a visit to CNSSL, a Nigerian telecoms consultancy company chaired by Engr Gbenga Adebayo, who also doubles as the current President of the Association of Licensed Telecommunication Operators of Nigeria (ALTON).

The MTN Nigeria CEO said that telecoms pervades every sector of the Nigerian economy adding that today the company sees its “roles in three broad buckets.”

“First is obviously affecting the lives of our customers. Second is transforming industries. We see that we have an opportunity to change a lot of industries and how things are being done. This is why I’m so excited about what you are doing with the BPO project”, he told the CNSSL team.

MTN Nigeria in music distribution

“Today, think about what we are doing in the music industry. We are transforming that industry. Artists used to release albums and never get the value of their labour. Today, by using digital platforms we are able to enable they get benefits for what they are doing. We are in a very interesting development cycle and we are going to continue thinking about newer and newer and more efficient ways to make our customers lives a lot brighter. We cannot do that alone. We need partners. We need reliable committed partners. We need partners that share that vision and passion that we have”, Ikpoki said.

What does the CEO of MTN Nigeria think about the rebased economy? Check the next page →

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MTN Nigeria CEO on rebasing of the economy

Ikpoki also reckons that the telecoms sector’s contribution runs deeper that the figures assigned the sector during the rebasing of the Nigerian economy.

“Let’s think about what the governor of Kwara state was saying. Recently there was an exercise on the rebasing of the GDP of the economy. What it came up with was that Telecoms was contributing about 9% of the GDP of the country. An economist asked me, “Do you think that it is correct?” And I said, “I don’t think that is correct because for 9%, it’s correct if you look at it form an output point of view. But if you look at the service that we provide and the productivity it enables people to have every day (you can pick your phone, transact businesses, and do everything with a lot more efficiency which you couldn’t have done before), the impact on the economy is a lot more significant”, he said.

[blockquote right=”pull-right”]MTN Nigeria, the biggest mobile phone company in Nigeria, today counts over 57.2 million active customers as at first quarter of the year when the total market peaked at over 127 million active users, according to official market figures from the telecoms umpire. [/blockquote]

He adds that, “if we constitute 9% of the GDP of this economy and look at the kind of service we provide, and the way we impact and touch people lives in so many ways that enable people to do things everyday on non-productivity, efficiency the economy, we are no longer just a company.”

According to the MTN Nigeria CEO, “we have become an intrinsic part of the social life of this country. We have started looking very closely again at our ecosystem. In that whole ecosystem, we have a lot of people like you guys and we can go on and on. If you look at the technology space we have the Ericson, Huawei, sub-contractors and we have companies that service those areas. On our dealer space we have about 81 trade partners. That whole space takes about a million people in terms of employment generation. So we can go on and on. So when we think about it, we are in a very exciting space.”

MTN Nigeria, the biggest mobile phone company in Nigeria, today counts over 57.2 million active customers as at first quarter of the year when the total market peaked at over 127 million active users, according to official market figures from the telecoms umpire.

The company, owned by South Africa’s MTN Group, commenced commercial service in Nigeria in August 2001 and has grown to be not just a successful players in the telecoms market but an iconic brand in the country.

“In the early days when we talked about GSM and technology, we may have been mistaken to believe that we are just a technology company. I think over the years what has happened is that it has become very clear to us that we exist to give value to the customer. So last year we had a new mission. We designed a new mission for our organization and that mission is really to make the lives of our customers a whole lot brighter. We see the kind of service that we provide at the very heart of the customers existence”, he said.

According to Ikpoki, “we are MTN today and we are nothing without our partners. This whole ecosystem of people is the people that support us to be who we are. We are extremely proud to day to say as a company that we see ourselves as a critical agent of economic development because when we wake up every day we know that one way or the other we are impacting the lives of so many people. And to be honest with you, these stories are the things that make us very excited at MTN.”

During his visit, the MTN Nigeria CEO commended Adebayo, the Founder of CNSSL Contact Centre Ltd noting that, “There’s leadership, integrity, relationship, and innovation. But there’s one I think you have, but maybe you mention. It is called “CAN DO”, the spirit of succeeding against all odds.

I think in our country we have a lot of excuses for not achieving whatever we set out to achieve. But when I see what you have been able to achieve, I think that it’s a true story of ”CAN DO”, a true story of strong will, resilience, and being able to overcome all the challenges and building a world class company. I must commend you for the work you have done.”

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Kolade Akinola Technology Journalist at Technology Times Mobile: + 234 (0) 807 401 6027

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