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MTN deploys AI to create new revenue streams

Sibahle Malinga
By Sibahle Malinga, ITWeb senior news journalist.
Johannesburg, 05 Dec 2023
MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi.
MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi.

MTN South Africa is ramping up its artificial intelligence (AI) strategy, to drive efficiency and core revenue growth, while enhancing customer and employee experiences.

The mobile network operator says it has deployed AI solutions across various business functions, including customer value management operations, network operations and customer service, to improve user experience and reduce costs.

In an era defined by data-driven decision-making and digital transformation, the company says it envisions becoming an API- and Al-led organisation to better foster a culture of AI adoption in SA.

This, as next year is expected to become a “big year for AI” as many enterprises will officially deploy their AI applications across various business units, according to global research firm Omdia.

Utilising the full potential of MTN’s data will unlock new sources of revenue, while improving margins through smart automation, says MTN SA CEO Charles Molapisi.

“By harnessing the power of AI and APIs, we are not only future-proofing our operations, but ensuring our customers can look forward to a more streamlined, efficient and data-driven experience.”

Technologies integrated across its MTN SA operations include machine learning, digital assistants, robotic process automation and providing access to AI APIs to enable developers to integrate AI features into applications.

The rising demand for generative AI and AI offerings could see the market grow from $40 billion to $1.3 trillion over the next 10 years, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.

Molapisi notes MTN’s AI strategy builds on existing programmes introduced across its operations during the past few years.

Over the past year, the company has upgraded its call centres across Africa, adding cloud-based AI and machine learning capabilities, to enhance customer experience.

The telco says it is also looking to offer AI-as-a-service, and develop AI solutions that complement core business offerings that cater to enterprise needs.

As the first step, the company recently launched SiYa, its internal, employee AI-driven chatbot. SiYa assists MTN employees with supportive functions, including inquiries, offering information on company policies, and sharing insights from MTN’s knowledge base.

The knowledge gained from SiYa’s interactions will be instrumental in guiding the future of customer engagement at MTN, it states.

“SiYa’s growth doesn’t stop with employees; he evolves in tandem with the learning and development of the chatbot. This progression will eventually enable SiYa to guide customers in making device purchases and seamlessly collaborate with human advisors, marking a significant departure from conventional processes,” concludes Molapisi.