Bringing Innovation to Seychelles First
Boasting exemplary customer service coupled with dedication to technological innovation, airtel Seychelles bring the latest technologies and data services straight to the user
Writers Emily Jarvis
Project Manager Donovan Smith
Airtel Seychelles is a special member of the Bharti Airtel family because the Seychelles operations became the tech giant’s first venture into Africa 15 years ago. Since then, Seychelles has seen vast technological improvements and a whole array of new services moulded to suit the needs of the community; and no one man is prouder to have been a part of this change than Airtel Seychelles’ current managing Director, Amadou Mahamat Dina. “Everything in Airtel Seychelles is always a first. By this I mean we were the first to launch pre-paid mobile services, the first to bring in 3.75G data services in Seychelles and we are soon to launch 4G LTE services in the country– and we are proud to be the first to enter the mobile finance market in Seychelles with Airtel money,” he highlights.
The company have come on leaps and bounds since entering the country and have expanded their footprint across all of Seychelles’ islands, ensuring that their services are available to everyone. “It is important to us that our services are available to all customers and are at an affordable price. whether our customer is corporate, an SmE’s or an individual, our services are available to all,” explains Amadou Dina. Boasting the fastest Internet speeds in Africa – as per the broadband the testing company Ookla – Airtel Seychelles offer a wide range of communications services locally including pre-paid, post-paid, fixed line, ISP, mobile banking and much more.
Supporting their growth, the company have received many awards and accolades for their dedications to innovation and customer needs, the most notable include: Best Product Innovation Award from the Seychelles Chamber of Commerce and Industries (SCCI); and Best Network Utilisation for Airtel in Africa across the Airtel Africa operations.
Launching New Product Lines
Many of the challenges for Airtel Seychelles stem from rapid changes in communications technology, as Amadou Dina further explains: “Airtel is always keen to get the latest technologies to market and as such, we are launching three new products to the mobile and internet markets. Firstly, the coming weeks will see the introduction of 4G LTE in Seychelles. this demonstrates that we welcome new technological developments. Secondly, we will be becoming first in the Seychelles finance market with the release of Airtel money, which has already been established by Airtel in the African markets to great success. In contrast to most other African countries, everyone in Seychelles has a bank account and is educated in basic banking practices, meaning Airtel money will be a bonus for the country. Finally, we have interconnected the islands with fibre and are investing to cover the mainland with fibre in the next few years, so that everyone has access to fast broadband. Right now, we only have a few kilometres of cable, so this will be a huge project for the entire country.”
Currently, the mobile penetration rate in Seychelles stands at above 100 percent, an impressive figure which emphasises just how important telecommunications are island-wide. “This is in stark contrast to some of the other African markets, where penetration rates are as low as 20-30 percent. So this is also a big deal for us. Accompanying this figure is mobile data usage, which has only reached 20 – 25 percent in Seychelles at present; clearly this holds huge opportunity and can be identified as an advantageous gap in the market for future growth,” comments Amadou Dina, who hopes that Airtel money will also play a significant role in achieving the full potential of mobile data use.
Securing Top Talent
In terms of further educating their own staff locally, Airtel provides all staff with the opportunity to explore new ways to expanding their horizons. “In Seychelles, we have all of the top talent within the company. We let them go to expos and events in order to expand their way of thinking and meet the Airtel standard of excellence.” Over the past few months, Airtel Seychelles have sent a few members of staff out to other countries in order to expose themselves to different African markets. “Indeed, when these people come back, they will bring new knowledge home with them.” Amadou Dina aims to continue this exchange programme in order to secure well trained and market-aware staff by the end of the year.
Airtel Seychelles is an arm of Bharti Airtel that really directs its focus towards the customer, in terms of both service and experience. “We have a dynamic young team which offer 24/7 support to respond to customer needs. Plus we are the most affordable network in the country and we like to think of ourselves as the best,” affirms Amadou Dina. The company is further strengthening their customer-orientated focus in Seychelles with the advent of a Premier Lounge for valued customers, which is another first for Seychelles in the telecom world.
“What is Premier? Premier is identified by a customer who exemplifies being premier. In Airtel, this is for customers who have been with us for a long time and who expect the best service. The premier customer has a fast track for any interaction with the company, priority routing on services on the network plus earns loyalty rewards in terms of offerings like Priority Pass – a services that allows our customers access to over 600 Airport lounges across the world,” Amadou Dina further explains.
On a monthly basis, Airtel Seychelles runs a CSR project in order to reach out to the lives of ordinary people, whilst also nurturing undiscovered talents. their current community focuses are on youth, education, health and sport. under the education banner, the company have adopted a disabled school in Seychelles in its entirety including the provision of teachers, supplies and refurbishment. moreover, Airtel Seychelles are an official sponsor of Carnival International. Carnival International de Victoria is a joint partnership between Airtel and the Seychelles tourism board. “It’s one of the must do things on the Seychelles calendar. Seychelles carnival parade of the island’s 2014 Carnival International De Victoria and the 26 International Delegations with the 151 members of the International Press. It is a melting pot of cultures and attracts a lot of tourists to Seychelles,” comments Amadou Dina.
In terms of supporting health and sport infrastructures, Airtel Seychelles take part in Airtel Rising Stars and hold Airtel Seychelles National Cup, which Amadou Dina was keen to highlight: “We give young people the opportunity to take part in the football cup to win a trophy. Airtel Rising Stars is a youth football initiative undertaken by Airtel Africa. this programme, launched in 2011, is a soccer talent programme that aims to focus on identifying and nurturing budding soccer talent from the grass roots onto an international stage. two young footballers were selected from Seychelles and went to Tanzania to attend the Manchester United Football Clinic.”
With a proud and positive attitude, Amadou Dina is sure that Airtel have a secure future in Seychelles. “We always listen to the customer and are here to improve in order for them to enjoy the best customer service ever. Coupled with our dedication to technological innovation, we bring the latest technologies and data services straight to the user,” he concludes.