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All posts tagged "MTN"

  • MTN now lets people send money between Ivory Coast and Benin

    The MTN Group has revealed the launch of a mobile money cross-border payment service between Ivory Coast and Benin, positioning itself in the middle of the mobile money industry that has grown massively in Africa. The service, it says, has been introduced to enable the cheaper and easier movement of money in the West African region, potentially cutting miles that people have to walk to banks. This service is not the first of its kind that MTN has initiated between two countries. Back in April, the mobile giant introduced a similar service between Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso. The success of...

  • MTN’s results a mixed bag: subscribers, data up, revenues down

    MTN Group, Africa's largest mobile operator, reported a growth in quarterly subscribers on Thursday. The increase is not huge by any means but it is still impressive considering that the cellular faced tough competition as well as earlier this year battling stringent new rules in some markets. Of particular worry was the decision by the Nigerian telecommunications regulator to fine the country's three biggest mobile operators, including MTN, for the quality of their service and prohibited them from selling new SIM cards in March. MTN said the growth of subscribers increased by two percent over the three months ending...

  • Don’t burn your wallet: why SA hasn’t reached its mobile, cashless future (yet)

    When it comes to technologies that have failed to deliver on the hype that preceded them, it's pretty difficult to beat mobile money in South Africa. Following the rise of MPesa in Kenya, everyone thought South Africa, with its massive mobile population, would follow suit. While few would have dared to say it at the time, there was a sense of expectation that, within a few years, everyone would have abandoned cash and would be paying for things on their phones. Boy was that wrong. A number of factors hindered the growth of mobile money in the country, including restrictive...

  • MTN lets its subscribers listen to Gareth Cliff on WeChat for free

    The decision by shock jock Gareth Cliff to abandon terrestrial radio for online and WeChat streaming was one of the biggest things to happen to the South African digital space. In a country where free Wi-Fi is still a (relatively) scarce commodity and mobile data rates are pretty expensive, getting the latter right was always going to be a bit of a challenge. That challenge has however gotten a little bit easier with MTN announcing that it'll make the show free of data charges for its Internet Services customers. The MTN Internet Services also include special data rates for...

  • Huawei’s sub-$70 smartphone shows MTN’s $50 Steppa gamble’s already paying off

    If MTN needed any vindication that its gamble to launch a sub US$50 MTN-branded smartphone will pay off, here it is: Chinese manufacturer Huawei has confirmed it will price its Ascend Y220 device at R449 (US$41) on MTN in South Africa. First, MTN’s move was not that unusual to begin with. Globally, operators often launch branded-handsets to fill obvious gaps in the market. Typically this is at the lower end. What operators end up doing -- practically -- is driving the cost of a particular entry-point or segment down by “using” some of the OEM margin that is left on...

  • MTN’s $50 Steppa smartphone changes (almost) everything

    It’s been astonishing to see how quickly mobile operator MTN’s Steppa smartphone has been written off, when the devices have hardly made it to retail stores. This is a sub-$50 smartphone. A phone that retails for R499. By comparison, the BlackBerry Curve, a phone that South Africa was (and still is) addicted to, sells for closer to four times as much. The newer 9320 (which has 3G) sells for a little more, while the original 8520 – the most popular phone in South Africa at one stage – sold for a little bit less. By comparison, Nokia’s entry-level Asha 210 device retails...

  • VoIP is the future for the world’s telcos, but it won’t be an easy one

    I recently wrote about operators saving a packet on toll charges by using IP technology at the core, while failing to pass the benefit on to consumers and businesses with retail voice over IP (VoIP) products. This, I pointed out, is because very cheap voice products will quickly decimate their revenues, so it seems reasonable to expect that the fixed-line and mobile telcos will hold on to their traditional business models a little longer. Writing on the wall But the writing has been on the wall for a long time. Telecoms research firm Telegeography estimates that global VoIP traffic grew...

  • Hey MTN, MetropolitanRepublic, meet the real face of Ugandan education

    There is a primary school in Uganda at the foot of a dormant volcanic crater. It is not unlike many schools in this country. It has no electricity. The classroom walls are mud. A third classroom is in the process of being built but it’s already in use. The kids like it because the unfinished walls let in plenty of light so they can copy from the small blackboard; the lesson today is Malaria. No electricity They write in examination pads, their ballpoint pens making lazy circles in the air as they copy the chalked diagramme of a mosquito. Some use pencils...

  • 9 of South Africa’s best mobile apps

    We live in a world increasingly driven by apps. Apple's famous "there's an app for that" slogan is more of a truism these days than it is a marketing ploy. Research from Mobithinking suggests that the estimated number of app users worldwide will hit more than four-billion by the end of 2017. Such a figure not only indicates the growing demand for mobile applications, but the reality that mobile content is shaping the way people utilise their mobile devices. And while emerging markets may have been slower to adapt, an influx of cheap smartphones from the likes of China means...

  • MTN introduces cut price BlackBerry service plans

    South African mobile operator MTN is launching three new low-tier packages aimed at making the BlackBerry service even more affordable. The news comes hot on the heels of RIM’s latest earnings call, during which the BlackBerry smartphone maker singled out South Africa as being one of its strongest and growing markets. For about a quarter of the regular price, the BlackBerry Messaging Plan allows email and BBM use, but no web browsing. Only...

  • SA Gmail users get free SMS…at last

    Gmail users in South Africa are reporting that they can now send free SMSes from Google chat. The reports are coming through even though South Africa is not listed among the countries supported by the service, which has been around since 2008. At present, however, the service only allows you to send messages to MTN and 8ta numbers. According to MyBroadband, any attempts to SMS Vodacom and Cell C numbers resulted in...

  • The Telkom conundrum: Can a Telco catch up to leading mobile players?

    The news is not good, and in fact has not been good for a while. South Africa’s largest telecommunications provider, Telkom, is in trouble. Of that there is no doubt. The depth of this trouble is what should concern us all. The billion dollar question is whether or not Telkom can dig itself out of the ever-deepening hole it’s slipping into. Or will the long-suffering taxpayer have to bail it out, which seems to be becoming the usual course for state-owned enterprises around the world? With the release of Telkom’s interim results for September 2011, it is clear that making...

  • If Android’s so popular, where are all the Android phones?

    It’s "all Android, all the time". That's what they’ll tell you. It's "totally blowing away the competition". According to Gartner, Google's pet project (which as we all know, doesn't generate any meaningful revenue) Android now commands 52.5% of the global smartphone market. Huh? Where are all these Android phones? On the face of it, the market share numbers make sense. You have a powerful operating system and ecosystem (second in number of apps only to Apple). You have numerous device makers, including HTC, Motorola, Samsung, SonyEricsson (now just Sony) and LG, pegging their future (at least on the high-end) on Android....

  • MTN SA to offer uncapped mobile broadband

    African mobile giant MTN is stepping up to the broadband plate and releasing an uncapped, throttle-free product from October till January, as reported by MyBroadband The company will introduce a broadband package that removes the "uncapped without speed throttling" fair usage policies for a period of four months, but will most likely apply the policy once the trail period is over. Speculation is that MTN is testing the waters to see if a legitimately...

  • The key to USSD growth in Southern Africa

    USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data), has enormous potential to deliver new products and services to mobile customers in sub-Saharan Africa, but has yet to come into its own as a mature, fully-fledged service. Like SMS, USSD has a low barrier to entry for subscribers and customers. It is intuitive, menu-driven and works across all handsets, yet unlike SMS, USSD services and availability varies greatly across Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and regions in sub-Saharan Africa. "Just about every handset made in the last 10 years handles USSD sessions and menus, and all GSM handsets will at least handle basic USSD, which...