MTN Uganda slashes call rates

By Omondi Julius Odera, Kampala Uganda

MTN Uganda may have fired the first salvo in a new price war in Uganda’s telecoms sector, with its reduction of calling rates across all networks by over 40 percent.

The reduced call rates bring in a new tariff for their customers to call across all networks in Uganda. The Telco announced this development on 22 September 2015.The new rate which took effect immediately after announcement will be billed at Ush3 per second and is viewed as the most affordable in the market since MTN customers will enjoy the per second billing across all networks across the country.

Previously the Telco was charging Ushs5.5 which in essence indicates about 45 percent reduction in the calling rate. According to the Chief Marketing Officer, Ms. Mapula Bodibe, the move is intended to offer customers more value, competitive rates and convenience.

“In a bid to offer even more value for our customers, MTN has taken the unprecedented decision this year to reduce the calling rates for Ugandans, at a time when most prices are escalating upwards, Customers are continually looking for value-adding offers to meet their needs for affordability. MTN understands its customers’ needs and is always looking at opportunities to offer competitively priced products and services to address their communication needs at the most affordable rates. With this new offer, MTN customers will enjoy the lowest calling rates, to any local network and only pay for what they have used,” noted Ms. Bodibe

In order to enjoy the new tariff, existing customers will have to dial *151*2# to enjoy this new call rate while new customers will enjoy the new rates immediately upon activation of their new SIM cards. The rate has also been reduced from 300/- down to 180/-per minute for Postpaid customers. In addition, MTN will offer 7 minutes of free MTN to MTN calls for a 7 day period, for all new customers that activate a new MTN SIM card. This offer is aimed as a welcome offer for new customers joining MTN.

The call rate reduction is viewed by analysts as a way attracting new clients as well as retaining the existing ones with heightened competition from Airtel and Africell Uganda. Airtel Uganda has for quite a while carried out campaigns that have endeared it to most subscribers mainly due to the affordable and competitive calling rate bundles popularly known as Pakalast.  The voice bundle promotion from Airtel has been so successful that MTN Uganda introduced a similar introduced its version a few months ago.

Other Telco companies in Uganda are yet to take any counter action against this move. The fluid Ugandan Telco sector is easily swayed by price reductions and similar actions may not be a surprise in the near future. Price war in the Telco sector was rife four years ago when the then Warid Telecom intensified the act shaking market leaders like MTN and Airtel who also followed suit. 

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