A Mobile Revolution
with the continued success of MTN Uganda's services and a loyal customer base, the future looks increasingly bright for the company
Writer Matthew Bone
Project manager Donovan Smith
MTN Uganda launched their commercial services in Uganda in October 1998 and has seen its market share rise every year since. Today, MTN's share stands at 55.3% in a highly competitive market of 6 players. Through a commitment to a positive customer experience and the development of innovative products, MTN has grown to become the leading telecommunications company in Uganda, currently serving in excess of 9.7 million customers.
Ernst Fonternel, Chief Marketing Officer for MTN Uganda has overseen the latest surge of new strategies and policies being put in place within the company, that are heralding a new dawn in mobile technology and services. "MT N Uganda has always strived to be the market leader in all aspects of our business. We pride ourselves in giving our customers state-of-the-art technology at their fingertips, no matter where they live in the country. It is a new dawn for Ugandan telecommunications and we are proud to be leading the way," Fonternel explains.
Innovation and drive
MTN Uganda is renowned for its innovation and ambition to be the first to market life-changing telecommunication and It solutions as Fonternel explains: "In 2008, we launched the first mobile money service in Uganda with tremendous success while we also revolutionised access to information by heavily investing in our data services. In 2013, MTN launched 4G LTE which together with our national 3g+ and 2g coverage guarantees our customers internet access in over 80% of the total addressable Ugandan market. With MTN 4G LTE, our customers get the fastest internet with speeds of up to 100mbps. We are aiming to be a driving force behind Uganda's continued transformation, through telecommunications and ICT innovations. We are leading the delivery of a bold new digital world through a concerted drive to innovate and launch solutions that will make our customers lives a whole lot brighter."
Currently, 2.6 million MTN subscribers use the internet, the majority of which are set up on bundles that are offered in daily, weekly and monthly packages, and with 4G becoming more commonplace in the country, there is expected to be a rise of new data users in the next 12 months due to faster speeds and an enhanced user experience.
MTN Uganda has installed over 3200km of fibre optic cable with the goal of laying a further 500km by the end of 2014, which makes MTN one of the biggest fibre optic networks in Uganda. It's worth noting that MTN built Africa's first fibre-to-the-door network, which demonstrated the company's commitment to get customers online. MTN has seen the need for high speed data grow rapidly over the last 12 months and MTN Uganda has ensured that they are ready to facilitate this need. "The fibre optic line we have installed allows us to provide a wide range of telecommunication services, including voice and fax, but more importantly, high speed data and broadband. High speed data networks are essential to allow corporate businesses and individuals to take advantage of the new technological boom in Uganda," he cites and goes on to say that "MTN want Uganda to have the same data speeds as Europe."
MTN Mobile Money
MTN Mobile Money is an electronic wallet service that enables customers to send and receive money anywhere in Uganda using their phones. The service provides a fast, secure, affordable and convenient way to send money to anyone on their mobile phone anywhere in Uganda no matter the network. MTN Uganda are driving forward this service in the strong belief that it will become the preferred method of secure payments for person to person and across businesses. "Mobile Money has been a revolutionary service offered by MTN to its customers. Being able to send and receive money with just your phone has changed the way money is exchanged in Uganda. No longer do you have to go to a bank or financial institution for simple cash withdrawals or deposits, you can now send money on the go 24 hours a day, and if you wish to take out the money from your virtual wallet, you can do that as well," says Fonternel, who continues by saying, "With over 20,000 MTN mobile money agents across Uganda, customers can retrieve their money quickly and easily."
Investing in the Country
Over the last 15 years, MTN Uganda has continually invested into the country's telecommunication infrastructure, with US$140 million in just the last two years alone, being pumped back into the community and country. This level of continued commitment to both Corporate Social Responsibility and Uganda's ICT needs has won it plaudits from consumers and government alike. MTN Uganda are not stopping there though. To facilitate the need for a strong telecommunications infrastructure, the company has adopted a wireless approach to providing telecommunications services to the Ugandan market, which has already seen consumers reaping the benefits of wireless access. "With the lack of good roads and power grids in the country, we have thought about how we can help those living in rural areas gain access to the same quality communication services as those living in the big cities. We began rolling out wireless network coverage in these areas and now cover in excess of 90% of the population, providing services in over 150 towns and villages across Uganda," Fonternel states.
Consumer experience is one of the main priorities of MTN Uganda. The company regularly opens forums on Facebook and other social media in order to listen to customer feedback. This customer feedback has been listened to by MTN Uganda and acted upon as Fonternel explains: "when customers wanted us to have more service centres that dealt with their problems and queries first time, we listened and created our 24/7 call centres. We want our customer experience to be second to none, so that the user feels that everything has been done to make them feel welcome."
MTN Uganda offers customer care services in over 19 local and international languages when customers call the help line, and has the biggest number of customer service centres in Uganda working extended opening hours.
Business to Business Solutions
With a brand name as strong and globally placed as MTN, the company has seen a sharp rise in the number of businesses looking to utilise their solutions available. Whether it be bulk bill payments or data centres, MTN Uganda has become the go-to company for enterprise solutions of both big and small companies. "We don't just sell basic business components such as call centres or data handling, we offer complete business solutions encompassing various capabilities including cloud services and web data hosting among others. we are the only company in Uganda to offer a truly global redundancy system, so that in case of a complete data centre failure, the customer's on line operations site can be rerouted to a different data centre and will continue accessing services normally," Fonternel remarks.
A Successful Strategy
With the continuing success story of MTN Uganda, the future looks increasingly bright for the company. In 2013, the company was voted the 3rd most trusted financial institution in Uganda, beating banks and financial companies. This is even more impressive when you consider that they are predominantly a mobile communications company. Fonternel is confident that over the coming year MTN Uganda will push forward with new and innovative ways to further its services: "We believe that the next twelve months will be very positive for MTN Uganda. We will continue to drive our products and services forward with customers telling us what they want our focus to be on. On the side of MTN Business, we are looking at building bigger and more advanced data centres for business to business usage, in short, we will continue to listen to our customers and ensure that MTN Uganda continues to be the service provider that delivers a bold new digital world for customers."