MTN Group

MTN Group

In August 2015, MTN Group and Liquid Telecom entered into a partnership to extend their footprint across Africa, exploring ways to jointly offer customers access to the largest fixed and wireless footprint across the continent.

Building on this partnership, Liquid Telecom has since successfully deployed a long-distance fibre route across South Africa with MTN Group as an anchor tenant. The project was delivered on time and on budget, helping MTN Group extend its reach across South Africa and reaffirming Liquid Telecom's position as a leading wholesale managed fibre network infrastructure partner.



Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a leading emerging market operator, connecting subscribers in 22 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: “MTN”.

As of 30 April 2016, MTN recorded 230.3 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo-Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, South Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia.


The partnership between Liquid Telecom and MTN Group covers wholesale, carrier-to-carrier, high-speed broadband, enterprise and fixed data services, and enables both parties to access each other's fixed and wireless networks in countries on the African continent.

The partnership took on a new dimension in South Africa last year when Liquid Telecom began a project to connect the city of Polokwane in the north western province of Limpopo with Centurion; a region located between Pretoria and Johannesburg.

MTN Group was a key anchor tenant on the new route, which is designed to support the demand for reliable and high-speed connectivity across South Africa.

Liquid Telecom had just 12 months to complete the project, which included securing ‘wayleave' application approvals required to carry out work on privately-owned land as well as managing subcontractors.

The project also had to overcome some issues related to ground conditions for trenching.

In spite of this, it was completed on time and on budget.


In November 2015, Liquid Telecom completed the long distance fibre route connecting Polokwane and Centurion.

The route provides MTN Group and other anchor tenants with almost unlimited capacity on a national basis, enabling access to two of South Africa's major hubs.

As an anchor tenant, MTN Group has the advantage of owning dark fibre on the route, which now forms part of its wider transmission network across South Africa.

Furthermore, Liquid Telecom is currently in the process of deploying another long distance fibre route with MTN as anchor tenant. The 1037km route will stretch from Polokwane east and southwards all the way to Ladysmith in the Uthukela District of KwaZulu-Natal, and is expected to take 24 months to complete.

The first phase of the project is due for completion in 2016.


Thanks to Liquid Telecom deploying the new route connecting Polokwane and Centurion, MTN Group has been able to extend its network reach across South Africa.

The route further allows MTN Group to serve its customers with gigabit-speed services supported by Liquid Telecom's network maintenance SLAs.

By deploying additional routes, Liquid Telecom is introducing greater diversity and competition to the South African market, offering MTN Group and other telecoms operators alternative routes for network traffic.

The route is also further testament to Liquid Telecom's commitment as a partner for carriers as they look for greater access across the region.


“Liquid Telecom successfully delivered the project connecting Polokwane and Centurion in South Africa within time, cost and scope.”
Devan Chetty, General Manager Core, IP & Transmission Network Planning & Optimisation, MTN South Africa



Zambian universities and research institutions get fast, reliable broadband: Liquid Telecom provides first cross-border link for research and education networks in east and southern Africa.


ZAMREN (Zambia Research and Education Network) is a specialised internet service provider, dedicated to supporting research and education communities in Zambia. Improving education standards is vital to the economic development of many African countries, and by providing broadband connectivity to students, teachers and researchers, we've played an important part in the success of a number of regional education networks.

The Challenge

ZAMREN needed to find a supplier of reliable, high-speed cross-border connectivity. But cross-border networks are still rare in southern Africa. Most traffic passes onto satellite networks and is then transferred to hubs outside Africa and back again. This impacts on both price and latency. ZAMREN also wanted a broadband supplier with education sector experience and expertise.

The Solution

ZAMREN chose Liquid Telecom for many reasons. We've built the largest single fibre network in Zambia – over 1,200km long – the first fully-redundant network in the country. We supply Service Level Agreements unmatched by any other provider in Zambia. And we were also able to lay new fibre to cover the last mile from our existing network to ZAMREN establishments. After just five weeks of testing, the ZAMREN network went live in July 2012. Zambia's research and educational community are now linked for the first time, and can communicate with colleagues globally via the UbuntuNet Alliance's international network. In 2013, 15 establishments were using the ZAMREN network and a further eight will soon be connected. We're proud to have been central to this milestone for Zambian education.


“Our co-operation with Liquid Telecom has enabled ZAMREN to provide efficient, low-cost broadband to Research and Education Institutions (REIs) in Zambia. The result has been a 70% reduction in the cost of Internet access for ZAMREN's member institutions and now more dedicated bandwidth capacity for those institutions. This is positively impacting researchers, academic staff and students at our REIs in their core business of research and education.”
Bonny Khunga



Liquid Telecom provides satellite backhaul for cellular base stations in rural Zimbabwe, helping Econet move closer to its goal of countrywide coverage and connect the unconnected. 


Econet Wireless Zimbabwe is the country's largest provider of mobile cellular services. With large areas of Zimbabwe still without cellular cover, Econet hired Liquid Telecom to provide an advanced VSAT system.

The Challenge

Building and operating commercially sustainable networks in remote areas throws up problems including transporting kit on poor roads, generating power in areas with no electricity, and equipment maintenance.

The Solution

We helped Econet improve coverage by implementing a VSAT system which provides backhaul to their rural cellular base stations in Marymount, Masase and Sango Border Post. Our satellite connection includes:

  • a DVB-S2 shared bandwidth downstream carrier – enabling dynamic adjustment of bandwidth to suit demand
  • dedicated SCPC return links – an always-on connection utilising the latest modulation and coding techniques to maximise efficiency
  • guaranteed service levels for specific types of traffic, e.g. voice, SMS and Internet traffic.

Every BTS is connected to a VSAT which then uses a dedicated IP backhaul link back to a state-of-the-art VSAT hub in Harare. The VSATs, satellite backhaul link and hub are all provided by Liquid Telecom. Both the BTS and VSAT run on minimal power so they can be powered by solar. The result? Econet is now able to provide GPRS and EDGE coverage to even the most remote villages – changing people's lives today and in the future.


“Liquid Telecom has enabled us to provide cellular services to remote areas where it has always been extremely difficult for operators to make the business model work. Liquid has built a reliable and cost-effective VSAT link and, in the process, has helped change the lives of many people in Zimbabwe for the better.”
Francis Mahofa
General Manager, Network Planning and Deployment, Econet