A lady surfs the internet on her smartphone. The popularity of mkbile internet has pushed telecom companies to change strategies . INDEPENDENT PHOTOFacebook, Whatsapp send voice calls, SMS to the back seat
With data on one's smart phone, one can cheaply stay in touch all day without making a single call or sending a single SMS. Niyetegeka says people communicate via social networks because it is cheaper to communicate for longer. For example, one SMS costs Shs 130 yet one can send over 100 emails with only Shs 500 worth of data.
But as data has gained in popularity, there has been a drastic decline in revenue on the voice and SMS segments but the companies are not complaining. By
Apparently, customers are opting for newer data-driven social media platforms to communicate, which has led to an increase in internet browsing, according to the company. MTN says mobile data revenue increased by 57.4% and companies are looking for more opportunities to cash in. According to the
Telecom companies have had no option but to jump on the bandwagon by providing the internet packages that customers demand. With the declining average revenue per user on the voice segment, telecom companies have had to rethink their strategies and are now taking their tariff wars to the data arena. Recently, MTN Uganda launched a suite of multimedia solutions for businesses, which can be accessed via wired and wireless terminals, and will deliver voice and video communications, including video collaboration, over IP (Internet Protocol).
Among the solutions is MTN web phone whereby one can be able to call back home over the internet at fixed line rates while travelling. This is intended for one not to miss important business calls while away from office. The app can also synchronize the mobile phone contacts to allow one to easily access the contacts while calling from abroad. On its part, Airtel's new innovations include Internet 'Beerako' where customers are able to borrow up to 100MB and surf at no extra fee and 'Data Me 2 U,' which allows users to apportion an amount of their volume to another user.
In June last year,
Niyitegeka says that businesses also have to rethink their marketing strategies in order to stay relevant in this era of social media and almost constant online activity. Indeed, many companies are now taking to online marketing by being very active on social media. According to Niyitegeka, large corporations are likely to still need the reliability of fixed wireless broadband, and with more and more fibre-optic cable being laid on the continent, these services are likely to grow alongside networks such as 4G.
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