Mobile operator Airtel Ghana has introduced Browse Chaw, a campaign to promote the MNO’s data offerings. Customers can subscribe to a range of data allowance tariffs including a Pay as You Go option and a variety of postpaid bundles. Marketing Director Manu Rajan said that with the Browse Chaw campaign, the operator is offering a variety of data products—which he refers to as “customer centered data services”—that have been designed to meet its customers’ needs. In addition, Airtel is offering Data Rollover, an option which allows customers to roll over unexpired data amounts when they top up their bundles; DataKredit, a service in which subscribers can get data on credit from Airtel and pay for it with their next recharge; and a Single Recharge Option that allows users to recharge their voice and data services at the same time.
As early as 1992, Ghana was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to launch mobile services, and although the growth of the mobile market has outpaced the fixed market in the country—as is common in emerging markets—it has grown at a very slow pace, mainly due to poor signal strength. At the end of 2013, Ghana had a mobile phone penetration rate of about 110 percent. This growth, particularly in the voice market came at the expense of monthly ARPU, which had fallen below US $5.00 for some of the country’s operators. However, the potential for new growth has arisen with the availability of 3G service.
Airtel Ghana plans to invest GHC 200 million (US $65.9 million) in a nationwide network expansion, of which GHC 150 million (US $49.4 million) will go toward improved data services. We believe it is wise for the operator to improve and promote data services, as in many parts of the world data is becoming the prime revenue driver, rather than voice services. Whether in developed countries with 4G/LTE services or in emerging nations such as Ghana, customer-friendly data packages such as those being offered by Airtel can give operators an upper hand in attracting and retaining subscribers.
“Emerging markets, as well as technologically advanced ones, are data hungry. As we mention in two of this issue’s articles (about Airtel Ghana and Tesco Mobile), mobile operators tailor their data offerings accordingly to their markets’ needs and try to make data widely available. Whether they promote mobile data as part of a specific campaign or create innovative packages to fulfill their customers’ expectations, operators around the world are aware of mobile data’s value and its positive impact on revenue.”
Edyta Krzton, Senior Analyst at Tarifica