MTN Business scores contract to digitise municipalities across SA

MTN head office in Fairland, Johannesburg. TIMOTHY BERNARD Independent Newspapers.

MTN head office in Fairland, Johannesburg. TIMOTHY BERNARD Independent Newspapers.

Published Jun 14, 2024


Nicola Mawson

MTN, Africa’s largest telecoms company, said yesterday that its business unit had been awarded a contract by National Treasury to provide smart electricity and water solutions across South Africa.

“National Treasury was looking for a cost-effective solution that would also meet very high technical requirements, including query resolutions and training for municipal staff,” said Tumi Sekhukhune-Chamayou, MTN South Africa chief enterprise business officer.

The contract will see MTN Business offering its digital solutions to 257 municipalities through a three-year transversal contract, with revenue being earned based on how many municipalities sign up and what services they opt into.

As of this month, MTN Business will supply, deliver, install, manage and maintain end-to-end smart metering solutions across the country.

Smart meters enable utility service providers across the world to digitalise their distribution infrastructure and services efficiently with near real-time data, Internet of Things (IoT) Analytics stated in a February press release.

MTN South Africa chief executive Charles Molapisi noted that “digital technologies have become fundamental to everyday life, and our ambition is to ensure that these technologies touch the lives of our government, customers, and businesses in various ways”.

By the end of 2023, 1.06 billion smart meters across services such electricity, water, and gas had been installed worldwide, according to IoT Analytics’ Global Smart Meter Market Tracker 2020–2030.

IoT Analytics added that North America has the most mature smart electricity meter market, with nearly 77% electricity meter market penetration, while Latin America has largely lagged in its adoption of the technology.

Some European Union countries and the East Asia region, too, have high rates of smart electricity meter market penetration.

Of note was the fact that Africa was among the continents offering “high-growth potential for smart meters, as some regional governments have become convinced of the need to update their ageing grid infrastructure and are more actively engaging with smart grid industry stakeholders to develop regulatory policies to drive the adoption of smart meters”.

Moreover, MTN Business said the UK’s Carbon Trust estimates that businesses may be wasting up to 20% of the energy they are billed for due to outdated or faulty metering units.

For municipal customers, MTN Business’ solution is expected to provide better data access for managing electricity usage, leading to more accurate billing, improved outage restoration, and power quality data.

“This partnership will bring about significant benefits that will take South Africa one step further towards achieving a technologically advanced and economically developed electricity and water systems that will ensure South Africa’s usage remains sustainable for future generations,” Molapisi said.

“This is of utmost importance because while the water crisis may not be as apparent as the energy crisis, it remains a looming risk, which we collectively need to address.”