Top 10 telco providers transforming Africa

Mobile Magazine rounds up the top 10 telcos in Africa. Credit: Muhammad-taha Ibrahim
From Vodacom to Safaricom and Glo to Cell C, we compile some of Africa’s leading telecommunication operators

The telecommunications market in the African continent is growing, with Ghana, Nigeria, Botswana, Ethiopia, and other African countries showing exponential growth in recent years.

Mobile Magazine rounds up the Top 10 telcos fuelling Africa's expanding needs.

10. 9mobile
HQ: Lagos, Nigeria
CEO: Juergen Peschel

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Formerly Etisalat Nigeria, 9mobile provides a broad range of telecommunication services across Nigeria. The brand has taken a leading role in the market for its customer experience, quality of service, and innovation. 9mobile says it is relentlessly pushing the frontiers to find new ways to solve everyday challenges. Following its rebrand in 2017, 9mobile said its new look reflects the bold and creative attributes which it shares with its valued subscribers, especially the youth of the nation. 

9. Cell C
HQ: Sandton, South Africa
CEO: Jorge Mendes

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A proudly South African customer-first mobile operator, Cell C promotes digital inclusion by delivering products and services to empower and connect people to digital services. Currently evolving from a traditional mobile network operator to a digital lifestyle company, Cell C is committed to bridging the digital divide in South Africa and ensuring that everyone enjoys the benefits of a modern, connected world. Seasoned telco executive Jorge Mendes took over as CEO of the telco in July 2023.

8. Globacom
HQ: Lagos, Nigeria
CEO: Michael Adenuga

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Commonly known as Glo, the Nigerian multinational telecommunications company bills itself as the fastest growing telco in sub-Saharan Africa. Nigeria’s second largest mobile operator, Glo made history as the first single company to build a high-capacity submarine fibre-optic cable, known as Glo-1, from the UK to Nigeria, and the first to introduce the per second billing option and 4G service.

7. Telkom SA
HQ: Pretoria, South Africa
CEO: Serame Taukobong

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South African wireline and wireless telecommunications provider Telkom SA operates in more than 38 countries across the African continent. It is Africa's largest integrated communications company, providing integrated communications solutions to an entire range of customers. Largely state-owned, Telkom serves a large range of business and consumers, and as of October 2022 has added 5G FWA high speed connections to its offering by partnering with China's Huawei Technologies.

6. Safaricom
HQ: Nairobi, Kenya
CEO: Peter Ndegwa

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The largest telecommunications provider in Kenya and one of the most profitable companies in the East and Central Africa region, Safaricom keeps more than 42mn customers connected. The provider says it celebrates more than  20 years of staying true to its purpose of transforming lives with its services. Under the leadership of its current CEO, Peter Ndegwa, Safaricom is focused on being customer -focused, purpose-led, innovative and collaborative. Through the Safaricom Foundation, Safaricom gives back to society and has distributed 2bn shillings (US$1.4bn) in initiatives that provide sustainable community-based solutions.

5. Ooredoo Algeria
HQ: Algiers, Algeria
Acting CEO: Roni Tohme

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The Algerian subsidiary of Ooredoo Group, Ooredoo Algeria or Ooredoo Algerie offers a range of services to its Algerian customers. Operating with three core values - caring, connecting and challenging - Ooredoo Algeria rebranded in 2013 from Nedjma, and has seen significant growth since. It has quickly become the leading digital mobile operator in Algeria and it has the fastest network available in the country.

4. Orange Egypt
HQ: Cairo, Egypt
CEO: Yasser Shaker

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Orange Egypt is the country’s oldest mobile network operator. The brand, which claims its coverage extends to more than 99% of the Egyptian population, is continually ranked as the fastest network in Egypt by Speedtest and the National Telecom Regulatory Authority. With more than 30mn customers, Orange Egypt says it is committed to maintaining its position as the leading Mobile service provider in Egypt by providing the best quality service while contributing to the development of the community.

3. Airtel Africa
HQ: Nairobi, Kenya
CEO: Segun Ogunsanya

Airtel Africa is a leading provider of telecommunications and mobile money services, with a presence in 14 countries in Africa - primarily in East Africa and Central and West Africa. Airtel has 140mn customers and is the second largest operator across the entire African continent. It expects 376mn unique users by 2027, compared to 298mn in 2022. The Group aims to continue providing a simple and intuitive customer experience through streamlined customer journeys.

2. Vodacom
HQ: Midrand, South Africa
CEO: Shameel Joosub

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South African mobile communications company Vodacom is a leading and purpose-led African connectivity, digital and financial services company. Starting in South Africa, then brand has grown to include operations in Tanzania, the DRC, Mozambique, Lesotho, Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt, with its networks covering a total population of more than 500mn people. Vodacom is the leading cellular network in South Africa. The company’s success is due largely to its valuable promotions and flexible, affordable pricing structure.

1. MTN Group
HQ: Johannesburg, South Africa
CEO: Ralph Mupita

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Based in South Africa, MTN Group is Africa’s largest mobile network operator, providing services to more than 289 million customers in 19 markets.The group says it is committed to bridging the digital divide and furthering financial inclusion. By investing in sophisticated communication infrastructure and developing new technologies it has grown to offer services to communities in Africa and the Middle East. The firm has been particularly successful in Nigeria, where it provides 35% of all telecommunications services.


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