Phenomenal growth points to ‘pent up demand’
| July 2, 2013, 5:38 p.m.
MTN Uganda’s growth of over 85% in data customers indicates a pent-up demand for higher data rates, says Julian Watson, Senior Analyst at IHS Electronics & Media.
MTN Uganda says it has seen a dramatic increase in the number of customers using its mobile internet services in the past 12 months. It now has 1.6 million such subscribers. Ernst Fonternel, MTN Uganda’s Chief Marketing Officer, says the phenomenal growth in internet customers is due to the telco’s expanding data footprint with superior speeds, unmatched airtime availability, affordable Internet dongles and bundles, as well as their world-class Internet technologies supporting up to 100Mbps with 4G LTE.
“Since the beginning of the year, MTN has been the first in the market to introduce WiFi Hotspots, 42Mbps and 4G LTE. We also provide our customers with 15MB worth of free internet every month and we are constantly reaching out to our customers through various activations and great device deals,” Fonternel said.
Watson says: “MTN’s early success with LTE in Uganda points to pent-up demand for higher data rates than those available from 3G/HSPA networks in Uganda. This is a boon for Smile – an LTE start-up – and throws down the gauntlet to competitors.”
“MTN’s mobile internet trajectory (based on GPRS/EDGE, 3G, and LTE) in Uganda is mirrored by strong uptake in its major markets. In Nigeria, MTN owns some 26.3 million of the country’s 35 million mobile internet customers (as of April 2013). It is even more dominant in Ghana, with around 70% of mobile internet subscriptions. However, the majority of its internet users still access the internet through pre-3G feature phones, meaning that the battle for mobile internet customers is as much about migrating existing ones to 3G+ smartphones as tapping those who don’t currently use mobile internet,” he says.
Watson notes that MTN Nigeria had 4 million active 3G devices on its network at the end of 2012. Some 3.8 million of these were smartphones, up from 1.7 million at the end of 2011. It also had 0.2 million dongles on its network, down from 0.33 million. MTN South Africa reached 13.4 million data users at the end of last year, up from 10.9 million. Over half of the data users – 7.7 million – had 3G devices; 5.5 million of these were on smartphones. MTN Ghana had 1.3 million 3G devices on its network at the end of 2012, up from 0.166 million in 2010.”