Home » Karl Toriola-led MTN Nigeria unveils West Africa’s largest data center

Karl Toriola-led MTN Nigeria unveils West Africa’s largest data center

MTN Nigeria to build West Africa’s largest data center under the leadership of Nigerian business executive Karl Toriola.

by Timilehin Adejumobi
Karl Toriola

Key Points:

  • MTN Nigeria, led by CEO Karl Toriola, plans West Africa’s largest data center, boasting 1,500 racks and Tier 4 certification for top reliability.
  • Chief Technical Officer Mohammed Rufai states the center meets Nigeria’s rising data demands, enhancing operational resilience.
  • The data center, a pivotal investment for MTN, aims to stimulate economic growth, cater to high market demand, and localize content for improved user experience.

MTN Nigeria, the largest telecommunications company in Nigeria led by Nigerian business executive Karl Toriola, has unveiled plans for West Africa’s largest data center, marking a pivotal investment in Nigeria’s digital future. The 1,500-rack facility, certified at Tier 4 for top-tier reliability, promises an uptime of 99.995%.

According to Mohammed Rufai, MTN’s Chief Technical Officer, the data center aims to meet Nigeria’s escalating data demands and digital needs. “This strategic initiative will enhance MTN’s operational resilience while serving as a crucial resource for businesses nationwide,” Rufai stated.

MTN sees the data center as more than just a technological advancement; it’s a catalyst for economic growth. “We see a high demand in the market, with data usage growing significantly,” Rufai explained. “This investment positions us to cater to that demand and prepare for the future.”

Support for businesses and digital transformation

The data center will serve a dual purpose, supporting MTN’s operations and acting as a critical resource for businesses across Nigeria. By utilizing MTN’s facility, companies can move away from managing their own server rooms.

“This will empower businesses, particularly MSMEs, to embrace digitalization and improve efficiency,” Rufai added. “By offering scalable and adaptable infrastructure, we’re paving the way for a more innovative and competitive business landscape across all sectors.”

The center will also serve as a local hub for major tech companies like Meta and Google. This localization of content will improve user experience and network efficiency by bringing content closer to Nigerians.

Karl Toriola: Driving MTN Nigeria’s growth

MTN Nigeria, a subsidiary of MTN Group, Africa’s largest mobile network operator, has delivered consistent revenue growth in recent years. The company offers a comprehensive suite of telecommunications services, including mobile network access, internet connectivity, bill payments, and device financing solutions.

Nigerian business leader Karl Toriola, who took the helm as CEO of MTN Nigeria in October 2020 following a successful stint as VP of MTN’s West and Central Africa region, has been instrumental in the company’s impressive financial performance in recent years.

Revenue soars, profits dip in 2023

Under Toriola’s leadership, MTN Nigeria’s revenue climbed from N1.35 trillion ($2.92 billion) in 2020 to N2.01 trillion ($4.35 billion) in 2022, reflecting a strong 48 percent increase. Profits also rose steadily, reaching N358.2 billion ($775.36 million) in 2022, up from N205.2 billion ($444.2 million) in 2020 (using 2022 exchange rates).

In 2023, the company reported a loss of N133.84 billion ($82.7 million), a sharp contrast to the profit it recorded in 2022. This decline was due to naira devaluation, rising inflation, increased energy costs, and the 2023 Finance Act VAT on tower leases, which pushed operating expenses higher.

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