Saturday, July 26, 2008

Uganda - mobile competition

Telecom Competition in Uganda Leads to Free Airtime

The competition in Uganda's telecom industry is getting hotter by the day as players jostle to woo and keep subscribers with free calling.

All four players in Uganda's market -- Celtel, MTN, Uganda Telecom and Warid Telecom -- are running campaigns with the theme of free airtime, something that has only been a mirage until now.

Abu Dhabi's Warid Telecom was the first to stir things up just a few months after its Ugandan launch in March. The newcomer's promotion, dubbed "Talk for Free," allows customers to do just that after paying for the first two minutes of a call.

The promotion has enabled the company to pick up subscribers by the thousands, sending the competition back to the drawing board. Before Warid's entry onto the market, the competing telecoms could only fight each other by reducing call tariffs.

MTN was the first to follow Warid's lead with the introduction of "MTN Cash Back," whereby prepaid fixed-line subscribers received a rebate for 10 percent of the value of the airtime they purchased.

Meanwhile, Uganda Telecom's "Everybody Can Talk" campaign offers daily electronic drawings for free calls.

Now Warid is upping the ante once again with its "Mega Bonus" promotion, which allows customers to make free calls for the 24-hour period following the purchase of airtime.

The 30-day promotion will not interfere with the quality of the network, given its superior nature, assured Warid CEO Zul Javaid at the promotion's launch July 16.

He added that the company has amassed a total of 650,000 customers in Uganda over the past five months.

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