MTN South Sudan, a unit of South Africa’s MTN Group, has said it is cutting jobs and cancelling expansion plans as the war-torn country battles an economic crisis. Bloomberg quotes Khumbulani Dhlomo, the company’s head of corporate services, as saying: ‘We have seen a decrease in our customer base. People now have to choose between buying a phone, buying airtime and buying bread … If the economy continues its downward trend, MTN may be forced to close’.
MTN has just over one million subscribers in South Sudan, the executive confirmed, while noting that customer numbers have dropped 10% since October 2015; the company is anticipating further losses. Going forward, MTN has scrapped plans to put up 40 new base transceiver stations (BTS) and 100 3G cell sites with immediate effect. In addition, Mr Dhlomo told Reuters that the company has already cut its foreign staff numbers by 75% and intends to reduce 55% of its local employees, without giving exact figures.