African telecom ‘giant’ MTN Group is the latest network to join Canonical’s ‘Carrier Advisory Group’ for Ubuntu Touch.

The South Africa based company operates across 21 countries. These include several African countries as well as Middle Eastern territories such as Afghanistan, Syria and Iran.

In Africa alone MTN Group boast upward of 180 million subscribers.

Its Iranian venture, Irancell, formed in partnership with a state-owned consortium, attracted international ire last year when it was accused of trying to import technology subject to trade embargoes. Non-advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran accuse MTN of “enabling the Iranian government to track and locate cellphone users”. 

On less contentious ground the Chief Commercial Officer at MTN Group is upbeat about its membership of the CAG:

“Today’s phones are so much more than just telephones and Ubuntu will be able to meet needs of operators and handset manufacturers looking to take advantage of the latest technology and cutting costs.”

The addition of MTN Group to the CAG –  a forum in which carriers can provide input and direction on the development of Ubuntu Touch – brings the total number of members (as of July 16th) to 13.

US network Verizon was announced as having joined the group last week.

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