15th November 2019

Eliminating Bill Shock for Africans abroad – How MNOs in Africa are providing an alternative to OTT Apps

By Dr. Inderpal Singh Mumick, Founder, and CEO of Kirusa. www.kirusa.com

There are two major challenges that MNOs in Africa need to urgently tackle as their voice revenue continues to decline:

1. Providing an alternative to OTT calling or messaging apps,

2. Enabling roaming at a reduced cost.

Even today most MNOs don’t have a strategy for winning back any share of the voice market. However, as the saying goes, “if you can’t beat them, join them.” Developing their own branded voice apps and pre-installing these on smartphones – or encouraging their customers to download them by providing free data for the download – is the obvious approach with MNOs.But there really is no need to launch a MeToo OTT voice app. What would be the point?

To succeed the MNOs need to offer something different for their customers. MTN Zambia, Zambia’s market leader with a well-deserved reputation for innovation and putting its customers first, has taken the lead by offering a new way to make and receive calls when they are outside the MTN Zambia network. MTN Zambia customers can now download Kirusa’s InstaVoice ReachMe app from Google Play, the Apple Store, and https://go.onelink.me/0Wz6/reachme) and start benefiting from the following:

• A drastic reduction in the cost of making and receiving calls whilst they are outside Zambia

• The ability to use their MTN Zambia number anywhere in the world, even where the operator has no roaming partners.

• The opportunity to buy virtual numbers for the US, UK, Canada, and France (+1, +33 and +44) for just US$1 a month, with additional countries to follow shortly. These numbers can be used alongside a person’s existing mobile number(s) and activated instantly with no liaison with an operator required.

Up to ten numbers can be linked to a person or business – with the numbers able to be used on any device. This eliminates the need to carry additional phones to use multiple phone numbers.The crucial differentiator between the MTN Zambia service and WhatsApp is that it doesn’t require both caller and recipient to have the app to connect.  Person A dials Person B’s regular mobile number – and doesn’t know or care that the call is received in an app by Person B. For Person B, they receive voice calls in the app wherever they are in the world at no cost to themelves.

So, the benefit for the MTN Zambia is that it holds onto the revenue from such calls, which would have otherwise been lost. In addition, there is a reduction in the number of dropped calls. When a call goes unanswered, MTN Zambia customers will receive a Missed Call Alert or Voicemail which can be accessed in the app.

Seun Soladoye, Acting Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Zambia, said: “ReachMe is a refreshing innovation that solves a pain point for our frequent flyer audience. This app is an outcome of totally re-thinking roaming, and by clever integration with the cloud, drastically minimizes our costs thereby allowing us to roll out attractive roaming packages.”

These days people travelling outside their home country need and want higher value, more convenience, and lower roaming rates. MTN Zambia has shown other operators in Africa how they can provide new and innovative roaming services  – and provide an alternative to WhatsApp. For more details visit https://reachme.instavoice.com/ 

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