A bare knuckled war is expected to begin between the three telecoms operators when the new kid on the block, Tigo, launches.
This is very good news for us, the consumers. As I had previously indicated, the investment made this year, totaling US$278 million, by the three players alone is substantial.
The trickle down effect will boost the service levels across board. What I am pointing out is that, as the duopoly structure gives way to perfect competition, we need to recognize that there will be leaders and laggards. That is, unless the three operators collude to form a cartel-like market operation.
In my view the leader will have to differentiate their operations in terms of a unique customer experience because subscribers will be spoilt for choice for the first time.
Telecom analysts I have talked to say that success will depend on creating an enriched customer experience.
MTN for instance, is keen to sustain its winning streak by introducing a money transfer service. This is most welcome. Various telecoms in Africa have facilitated the convergence between banking and telecoms.
In Rwanda, this product will yield various fruits. The Diaspora remittance is one very importance target area for such a service.
Rwanda’s Diaspora remittance stands at US$80 Million per year and this is likely to go past US$100 Million. Being the ‘bank’ for the ‘un-bankable’ while linking those abroad with the locals will offer significant revenue streams for MTN once this service is up and running.
The awakening within the telecoms sector will lead to more customer-centric approaches by the players. My sources within one of the players has revealed to me just how the company’s new team of marketing professionals are making a difference in terms of service delivery.
Previously, the corporate sales people in this company did not bother to reach out to clients. But now, the new head of corporate sales does not want to entertain such practices.
The sales people are not needed in the office between nine in the morning and four in the afternoon.
What is now apparent is that operators will have to fully integrate telecom lifecycle management approaches within their working sites.
Part of this will include more relevant consulting services as well as extensive market research for the purposes of producing real customer insights.
That is what will distinguish the leaders from the laggards.
Telecoms operators will also have to create bonds within their divisions to produce multipliers that create efficient business structures needed for them to sustainably compete.
There will be lots of migration by subscribers. The challenges for all the three CEOs right now is capturing a significant market share while seeking to keep customers happy and also getting the customer to spend more.
I am sure that all them are burning the mid night oil to wage war as Tigo is finalizing its entry plans.
The author is a journalist with The New Times