In 2003 this publication noted that MTN "has defied the sceptics" with its aggressive moves into new markets in the rest of Africa. In 2004 we commented on a 50% growth in subscriber numbers. Those two factors - geographic expansion and growth in customers - have continued to define the company's record of relentless success. At the end of May this year, the FM remarked that, after Vodacom's drama-filled listing, SA investors had three giant telecom operators on the JSE to choose from. "But it's clear," we said, "that MTN, which has entered into renewed merger talks with India's largest mobile operator Bharti Airtel remains the darling of investment analysts." Vodacom, for all its excellence, remains heavily reliant on the SA market, whereas MTN has built significant businesses outside the country in fast-growing markets. Its Nigerian operation is already larger than MTN SA, and Iran, where it holds 49% of Irancell, is also gaining momentum.