Posted: Tuesday 2nd September 2014 at 1:36 am

Affordable smartphones drive data consumption on MTN


MTN Ghana says it is realizing increased data consumption on its network largely because of the sale of affordable smartphones in partnership of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) like Tecno, Huawei and Nokia.

CEO of MTN Ghana, Serame Tuakobong made the acknowledgement at the launch of this year’s MTN annual internet festival [iFest], slated for September every year for the past for years.

He noted that last year alone, MTN recorded up to 25,000 new data subscriptions for during the iFest month, and that was due to the promotion of internet use and its benefits, plus the churning out of affordable android-enabled smartphone.

“These affordable phones empowered customers who are not able afford the high end smartphone the opportunity to also access the internet through our network,” he said.

MTN has for a while now been promoting affordable smartphones like the Huawei Y210 and Y220, Nokia X and Tecno Phantom A and Phantom A1 respectively, which driving mobile data use.

“The number of smartphones/devices users with access to data on the network increased from 525 in November 2011 to 1.7million in June 2014. This has been the result of strategic partnership with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) such as Tecno, Huawei and Nokia,” he said.

Moreover, MTN and indeed other telcos have been offering various affordable data packages that drive consumption. MTN’s GHC5 “Social Bundle” for 30 days is an example of such affordable packages.

This falls in line with the objectives of the telecom market leader’s iFest month, which is to create awareness about the internet and its benefits, and shore up data consumption to ultimately increase internet penetration in Ghana.

But the CEO noted that in spite of the increase in uptake and the affordable value offering, there are still more smartphone users on MTN who are yet to connect to data, and they are the target of this year’s iFest campaign.

 
Internet penetration
Internet penetration in Ghana now stands at 12.3%, which places the country 145th in the global internet ranking according Global Internet Society. And the MTN Boss said the telco envisions taking Ghana into the top 100 internet consuming countries in the world in the next few years through education, affordable handsets and affordable data packages.

He noted that mobile data traffic forecast indicates that the increase in smartphones/devices would drive data consumption growth in the next few years.

This, he said, would require operators to increase the capacity of their networks with enhanced technology to be able to meet demand.

The MTN Ghana Boss said “over the years we have seen very positive results from iFest month activations and this has contributed to the significant increase in data subscriptions and revenue and we intend to take it a step further this year and in the subsequent years.”

According to Tuakobong, MTN is already seeing increased mobile data subscription on its network as a result of the emergence of affordable smart devices.

The company’s half year (H1) results showed data contributed 17.4% of its total revenue and it currently leads the local data market with 50.54% market share.

MTN is also expanding its network to back the data value offerings with the needed robustness and reliability as it embarks on the iFest campaign. It currently has 1,137 3G cell sites and more than 4,000 kilometers of fibre deployed across the country. It suffers from fibre cuts, like all other telcos, but the company keep adopting different strategies to ensure that service remain reliable even when fibre is cut.

 
iFest promos
MTN staff guide customers through the internet at the iFest launch

Meanwhile, during the iFest month proper, MTN would be promoting various data packages, from unlimited data bundles to social bundles, plus educating the public at various internet clinics across the country on what uses and benefits they could draw from the internet.

It would also embark on a number of reward-driven activation for both staff and customers throughout the month. For staff, the activations include inter department quiz competitions, a Selfie completion, online data activations, and competitions for frontline staff on how the interact with customers.

For customers there would be radio/TV quiz competitions, opera mini competitions, 20% bonus for every recharge, free data for non-data users for one month and 10 weekly clinics across the 10 regions and unlimited Social Bundle for three months for every Huawei Y220 purchase in addition to the existing free voice and data that already come with the phone.    

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