Since launching Airfibre as an affordable alternative solution to connect the unconnected in March last year, Supersonic by MTN SA has seen staggering growth and now covers over 3.4 million households across the country with the service.
After passing 10,759 homes in the first month after launching in March 2021, the rate of growth increased rapidly to reach 3.1m homes in one year. This has continued to reach over 3.4 million in May this year.
“We are continuing to see impressive growth as demand for Airfibre as an alternative to traditional fibre continues. Our aim is to continue delivering and innovating so that more homes are covered and more people who are not able to access fibre can still be connected to a high-speed and reliable data solution, and through it, global information superhighway,” says Megan Nicholas, Managing Director for MTN Supersonic.
From initial areas of Soweto, Mamelodi, Fairlands, and Honeydew, coverage now reaches across SA, traversing Cape Town, greater Johannesburg and Pretoria to Gqeberha, Durban, Pietermaritzburg and George.
“This geographic expansion is continuing as the rollout costs of AirFibre are significantly lower than conventional fibre thanks to MTN’s vast network of mobile towers. We are especially pleased to see strong growth in rural areas, which have traditionally struggled to gain access to the digital world. With Airfibre the modern, digital world is now at their fingertips, opening up new growth possibilities for growth, streaming and play,” says Nicholas.
A study by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) determined that connectivity gaps in rural areas are particularly pronounced in least developed countries (LDCs), where 17% of the rural population live in areas with no mobile coverage at all, and 19% of the rural population is covered by only a 2G network.
“While access to the internet is a basic human right in most parts of the world, this is not so in the developing world. MTN plans to change that as we continue to roll out solutions and services to close the digital access gap and the recent results of our Airfibre rollout shows that we are doing that,” says Nicholas.
Airfibre is the first product of its kind in the world using patented technologies allowing far higher levels of service. It uses open spectrum frequencies, which lowers the cost to serve customers. Users simply need the installation of an A4-sized antenna at their home and this antenna will then communicate with the radio equipment attached to an MTN mobile tower.
“We are harnessing our full network and infrastructure and are thinking outside the box to expand reach to even more homes on SA’s best network. This is also taking place in tandem with our plan to rapidly extend rural coverage in the second half of 2022, and even more exciting new growth opportunities await,” concludes Nicholas.