MTN taps into the Internet of Things


MTN Business launched the first ever Pan African Internet of Things (IoT) which is now live in South Africa.

(READ MORE: When tech meets reality: The Internet of Things

This platform aims to provide African enterprises with greater control and advanced management features for their connected devices and sim cards. This is the next evolutionary step in connecting and managing machines.


“The open platform enables networked devices to exchange information and perform actions, responding intelligently to their environments without human intervention,” the company said in a statement.

The platform will ultimately remove significant cost and accessibility barriers, ultimately enabling development on a broader scale and establishing an ecosystem of real-world internet needs.

The debut also saw the introduction of a global Machine-to-Machine (M2M) sim card which offers customers the same rate for M2M across MTN’s footprint in Africa. This expansion plan for this platform will be going live in other African countries over the next 12 months.

MTN Group CEO, Mteto Nyati said, “In South Africa, the wholesale Machine-2-Machine (M2M) market – one aspect of IoT – is already worth an estimated R350 million and expected to grow to R1.2 billion by 2017. This means there are significant business opportunities for aspiring developers in South Africa and the rest of the continent.”

With the development of IoT, Nyati said they had three important pillows to look at in implementing this platform – geographic expansion, economic inclusion and government to citizen engagement.

On the issue of expensive data cost, Nyati said, “IoT predicts that in 2020 there will be 50 billion devices. Data will increase by volume and cost to communication will decrease. We are working under the assumption that data will go down same way as voice [calling] is going down.”

Inspired by the IoT platform, MTN has launched an initiative for application developers across South Africa called Mind-to-Machine Challenge.

“The initiative aims to identify and enable talented African developers to create scalable and relevant business solutions that solve real-world problems.”

Nyati said their business ethos is defined by helping SME’s grow their business.

“Our business will be linked to purpose.”