Wednesday, September 17, 2008

MTN sustains deal with Highway Africa

While the likes of Telkom may be dragging foot on the future of Highway Africa Conference, an annual gathering of continental media practitioners with interest in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), the mobile giant, MTN Group has reaffirmed its commitment to the sustainability of the event in years to come.

Highway Africa conference is an initiative of the Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa in collaboration with the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation (SABC).

The spokesperson for MTN Group, Ms Nozipho January Bardill, gave this indication in an address to the weeklong sessions and said the mobile operator is proud to once again participate as the official and exclusive mobile technology partner for the Highway Africa conference, arguably the most important annual event for journalists covering the ICT sector.

She noted that the partnership which is now in its fifth year, last year witnessed the signing of a three-year Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Highway Africa to demonstrate support and confidence in the value of the conference.

“The MTN Group is proud to continue its association with Highway Africa, which we believe adds substantial value to the accurate and analytical coverage of the sector in which we do our business. MTN recognises the important role of the media in the advancement of the ICT industry,” she declared.

According to her, mobile technology forms a critical part of the realization and success of citizen journalism as many ordinary citizens nowadays do not have access to sophisticated equipment but could use mobile telephony, through their handsets and the network, to overcome those barriers and provide news and visuals instantaneously.

As the first African global sponsor of the upcoming FIFA 2010 World Cup South Africa, she pointed out that MTN has secured the mobile content rights for the tournament and the company believes that the journalists attending this conference will be part of the revolution expected in terms of the technology advances that will be seen at the time.

Ms. Bardill emphasized that as at June 30, 2008, MTN had a total of 74.1 million subscribers across its 21 operations.

“To meet the high demand for our services in our markets and to ensure appropriate levels of quality and capacity on our networks, MTN is investing heavily in network infrastructure as well as in hardware and software,” she said, revealing that in the first half of this year alone, the mobile operator has already invested over R10 billion in Capex, including software, which is 65 per cent more than the same period last year.

In his response, Director, Highway Africa, Mr. Chris Kabwato applauded MTN on its role as the official mobile partner of the conference.

Highway Africa, he said, center of attention is on raising and seeking solutions to problems confronting media practitioners in the ICT sector and MTN is one of the companies that play a vital role in this field.

“We’re delighted to have their support,” he said.

Highway is on the 12th year and this year’s theme was on Citizen Journalism, Journalism for Citizens and annually attracts over 500 media practitioners mainly from the continent and beyond.


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