When Warid Telecom entered the Uganda telecommunications sector with their famous slogan “Warid Telecom, We care”, little did anyone know that they really cared for Uganda’s telecom subscribers!Many Ugandans called it “worried telecom” with the view that they were set to face competition from the already existing telecom companies like MTN, ZAIN and Uganda Telecom!
With their catchy campaigns and product offers like MEGA BONUS, DOUBLE THE FUN, PAKALAST , it was clear that Warid was set to conquer the Ugandan market. These enticing offers allured many Ugandans to join the Warid family.
However, Warid’s well packaged products did not only allure Ugandan consumers but they shock up other telecom operators, who introduced products to match Warid’s unbeatable product offers. As the giant telecoms fought to win new customers and retain existing ones, Ugandans enjoyed their battles by benefitting free airtime as well as an opportunity to reach out to their loved ones at lower rates.
This week, we awoke to news headlines announcing yet another mega offer from Warid. The giant telecom was urging us to “Switch to Warid for the lowest call rates of 5% per second to all networks.” Now, this was not good news to their competitors who have been ripping subscribers of their hard earned money. It seems like they did not have any survival strategy. They needed one immediately and from the way they have responded to this new tariff, they were caught unaware. I was reading these basic means to survival in the wilderness where they say, “In a survival situation, you will be extremely fortunate if you happen to have a map and compass. If you do have these two pieces of equipment, you will most likely be able to move toward help“ To me, these telecoms seem not to have a map and compass! Why? Today on my way to office, I read this eye-catching headline from two of Uganda leading newspaper reading “Telecoms declare new price war” and the other Zain,Uganda telecom, MTN cut call rates!!
Seriously, I hope these telecoms have thought through their reaction to Warid’s bombshell offer!
Let’s start analyzing one by one. First lets look at Zain Uganda, which happens to have the best rate as per the new tariff plan; 3/- per second across all networks. I hope this will help them allure more subscribers to the network which has lately been introducing many lucrative products on the market on top of sponsoring international artistes to perform in Uganda in the name of “Corporate Social Responsibility”. Their new rates might help them retain their existing customer I guess!
Moving on to Uganda Telecom, which I obediently subscribe too, their new rates may pass for now as they seem a bit realistic!
As for MTN, at times I do not know what their strategy is but I know one thing for sure, they are milking a cow they do not feed! Like the survival in wilderness basics, I guess they need help! Why? They seem to have a map but they lack a compass! They are too comfortable in their position as they pose to have the largest number of subscribers on their network. But again, one thing is for sure, Ugandans are not sleeping! MTN seems to always have a hidden agenda somehow! Quoting the MTN Marketing Manager Isaac Nsereko from the Daily Monitor yesterday, he says its customers will be charged Shs320 per minute to all networks for the first 10 minutes of calls each day. Thereafter, calls within the MTN network will be charged at Shs160 per minute while calls to other networks will revert to Shs320 per minute. Honestly, I do not see any change in their rates bacause on average, people on per second tariff plan usually talk for a few seconds to minismise costs. So if a subscriber is going to be charged Shs320 to talk for the first ten minutes, in just two minutes they will have deducted Shs640 from his/her airtime and in 10 minutes, it will be Shs3200! Now, if we are to follow the Shs6/- per second, it is even worse! In just one minute a per second subscriber will be charged Shs360! So is MTN taking us for a ride? If MTN does not wake up from its slumber land and get help, the likes of Warid not to mention Orange Uganda are set to conquer the Ugandan market!
On the contrary, we are going to see many Ugandans having more than two sim cards (which has been the trend anyway)! However, if the Ugandan government does not enact a law requiring telecoms to legally register their existing subscribers and new ones, we are set to witness mobile connection figures that do not tell the actual story on the ground. Subscribers will keep playing safe, switching to which ever network gives them the best rate!