The company MTN is an acronym for Mobile Telephone Network. MTN Nigeria is part of the South African based MTN Group, one of Africa’s leading cellular telecommunications companies. The group operates Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) networks in six countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Cameroon, Rwanda, Swaziland and Uganda.
MTN Nigeria began operations on May 16, 2001 as the country’s first GSM network. To date, the company has invested more than US$1.8 billion in building Nigeria’s mobile telecommunications infrastructure. MTN now provides services in 223 cities and towns and over 10,000 villages across Nigeria’s 36 states. The MTN Group reported that by June 30, 2005, it had recorded over 17 million subscribers on its six networks in Africa.
HIV/AIDS in Nigeria: Nigeria’s HIV/AIDS epidemic has raised concern because of the country’s large population of about 140 million. According to the 2005 report of the joint United Nations program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), between 3.2 and 3.6 million people are living with HIV in Nigeria, the third highest country case count after South Africa and India. In 2002, the US based National Intelligence Council (NIC) named Nigeria alongside with Russia, India, China and Ethiopia as the countries representing the next wave of HIV/AIDS. NIC estimates that by 2010, Nigeria could have anywhere from 10 to 15 million HIV cases if no serious mobilization materializes. The country faces troubles in terms of the AIDS epidemic: poverty, lack of empowerment of women and girls, the vulnerability of youth with 60% of the population under 24, and strong stigma and segregation against people living with and affected by HIV and AIDS.