Ten top telcos driving growth in Africa

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021 00:00 |
Telcos driving growth in Africa.

MTN Group

Based in South Africa, the MTN Group offers telecommunications services not only in Africa, but also in many European and Asian countries.

The firm has been particularly successful in Nigeria, where it provides 35 per cent of all telecommunications services.

Combined with earnings in 19 other countries, this has allowed the MTN Group to generate $10.92 billlion (Sh1.2 trillion) in revenue, the second highest figure for any telecom firm on the continent.

MTN is widely renowned for the quality and affordability of its services, having been named the Most Admired African Brand in 2015.

Airtel Africa

A subsidiary of the Bharti Airtel company, Airtel Africa has 78 million subscribers on the African continent. It has been particularly successful in Nigeria and Ghana, which together account for 60mn of its customers. It has become popular among business professionals and others who have to travel from country to country. This is due in no small part to its One Network plan, which allows subscribers to buy a service plan in one country and use it at the same price in other countries. With so many subscribers in some of the continent’s most vibrant economies, Airtel Africa earns $3.5 billion (Sh385 billion) in annual revenue.

Orange Egypt

Originally known as Mobinil, Orange Egypt is the largest telecommunications company in Africa. It generates $11billion (Sh1.21 trillion) in annual revenue. The company has also taken the lead in constructing telecommunications infrastructure, having installed underground coverage stations throughout Cairo and other major Egyptian population centres. It also collaborates with satellite companies to offer roaming services, providing its customers with the flexibility to make calls from a range of different locations.


With more than 55 million customers, Vodacom has one of the largest subscriber networks in the region.

It provides telecommunications services in 40 different countries, including Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Cameroon.

It is particularly successful in the country where it is headquartered, South Africa, where it has 23million subscribers and a market share of 58 per cent.

With such a large and widespread network of operations, Vodacom earns $5.4billion (594 billion) in revenue each year. The company’s success is due largely to its valuable promotions and flexible, affordable pricing structure.

Etisalat Misr

Also known as Etisalat Egypt, this company is one of the fastest growing telecommunications providers in Africa.

It was the first brand in the country to offer down-link at a rate of up to 7.2 megabits per second, making it a favourite among Egyptians seeking consistent access to the internet.

Thanks to this speed advantage, and its competitive pricing, Etisalat Misr provides internet access to 99 per cent of the Egyptian population.

This allows it to generate roughly 3 billion dollars (Sh330 billion) in annual revenue. The Egyptian giant telco currently has upwards of 26.4 million subscribers.

Ethiopian Telecommunications

Often referred to simply as Ethio Telecom, this telecommunications company is a subsidiary of the government of Ethiopia, which uses it to provide phone and internet services for all Ethiopian citizens. It generates annual revenues of $1.19billion (Sh130.9 billion).

The company is currently in the middle of efforts to expand telecommunications services to millions more Ethiopians.

If successful, this effort will make business, education, and other key economic activities easier and more affordable throughout the country.

The state-run telco in Ethiopia, reported an 18.4 per cent rise in full-year revenue to end-June to 56.5 billion birrs ($1.29 billion/Sh141.9 billion) and a 22 per cent jump in subscribers to 56.2 million.


The East African telco is a member of the Vodacom Group and breaks barriers every other time in its quest to be the continental leader.

With a little over 35 million subscribers and $1.893 billion (Sh208.23 billion) on average in annual revenues with a coverage of 63 per cent of Kenya, Safaricom is one of the largest and most important mobile phone and internet providers in Kenya.

The firm primarily focuses on providing telecommunications services It has become particularly important in recent years due to its mobile banking software, which has made it easier than ever for Kenyans to start and use bank accounts.

Considering how important banking is for economic growth, this makes Safaricom one of the most critical drivers of development in Kenya.


Globacom Limited, commonly known as glo, is a Nigerian multinational telecommunications company founded in August 2003 by billionaire investor and entrepreneur Mike Adenuga.

As of June 2018, the company had employed more than 3,500 people worldwide. GLO has over 45 million subscribers (December 2018), making it the second largest network operator in Nigeria.

In 2011, GLO became the first telecommunication company to build an $800 million ( Shs 88 billion) high-capacity fire optic cable known as Glo-1, a submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria.

It is the first successful submarine cable from the United Kingdom to Nigeria. Globacom has the following strategic business units: Glo mobile, Glo Broad Access, Glo Gateway and Glo-1.

Vodafone Egypt

A subsidiary of the British telecommunications giant of the same name,Vodafone Egypt is a major provider of phone and internet services in the North African country.

It was one of the first private companies to offer these services in the country, having won some of the Egyptian government’s earliest contracts when it began privatizing communications infrastructure in the late 1990s.

Thanks to this early entry to the market and its ability to offer advanced phone services, Vodafone Egypt generates just under $1billion (Sh110 billion) in annual revenue.

With 44 million subscribers and a 40 per cent market share plus 694,000 fixed broadband subscribers, Vodafone Egypt is the country’s biggest mobile operator.


Officially known as Econet Global, the diversified telecommunications firm with investments in Africa, Europe, South America and the East Asia Pacific Rim, offers products and services in mobile and fixed telephony services, broadband, satellite, optical fiber networks and mobile payment.

The group’s subsidiaries include Econet Mobile Networks Group, Liquid Telecom, Cassava SmarTech, Distributed Power Africa, Vaya Africa and Technites Africa.

Created in 1993 in Zimbabwe by London based billionaire Strive Masiyiwa Econet is a privately owned group of companies and is not listed on any stock exchange.

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