According to industry reports, Pan-African telecom company MTN is exiting from West Africa following the closure of its headquarters in Guinea by the country’s Post and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ARPT). The regulator accused the mobile operator of defaulting on taxes and license fees.
MTN has already received an offer from Axian Telecom to purchase its Guinean subsidiary and its subsidiaries in Guinea-Bissau and Liberia to optimize its portfolio in Africa.
MTN is Africa’s second-largest telecoms operator, with 291 million mobile subscribers in 19 markets. However, the company announced its intentions to exit three West African markets in the medium term last year. The sale of its subsidiaries in Guinea and two other countries is part of the company’s portfolio optimization objective as part of its Ambition 2025 strategy.
As of March 2023, MTN Guinea, MTN Guinea-Bissau, and MTN Liberia had a combined subscriber base of around 6.1 million, representing only 0.7% of EBITDA for the year’s first quarter.
MTN is currently the second-largest telecom operator in Guinea, with a 24% share of the prepaid market and 25.07% of the total number of mobile internet subscribers.
If the Axian deal goes through, it will allow MTN to focus on its core activities in the rest of Africa and simplify its structure, reducing its exposure to risky markets. Meanwhile, Axian Telecom is expanding its presence in the African telecoms market, having recently acquired MIC Tanzania, which brings together operators Tigo Tanzania PLC and Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel), and doubled its stake in Senegal’s second-largest mobile operator, Free.