The roll-out of long-term data packages are part of MTN South Africa’s strategy to raise its profile as a “customer-centric” company, says chief executive Mteto Nyati.
Nyati replaced former MTN SA CEO Ahmad Farroukh earlier this year.
And three months into the job, Nyati motivated for the launch of data bundles that do not expire after a month.
“Why should we follow the industry? If we’re going to be customer-centric, this is one of the things our customers hate the most in our industry. So let us create a product that does not expire,” Nyati told Fin24.
The operator’s Data4Keeps promotion allows customers to keep their data bundles for up to a year, but Nyati said that this was the beginning of a strategy to improve the company’s image.
“We are testing it initially for 12 months, but that’s the direction we are going to be seeing more in the future. We may end up having products that do not expire.
“It’s not necessarily a disruptive strategy. It goes back to our reason of being: We are going to be an MTN that is viewed as a caring MTN,” he added.
MTN currently trails market leader Vodacom in SA in terms of subscriber numbers. Vodacom has around 30 million subscribers versus MTN’s 28 million in South Africa.
But despite the local industry’s high adoption of mobile phones, Nyati said that the traditional areas of voice, SMS and data represent opportunities to grow the company.
“If you’re a number two player, you can steal market share from a number three and four. You can also take market share from a number one and through that even if everything remains flat, if you are growing market share, you are growing your business.
“We’ve decided we are going to go after market share in the traditional business.”
Nyati also hinted at a reward system for MTN customers who experience dropped calls.
“Another thing we are working on is to say: ‘If you as a customer have a dropped call because of us, we have inconvenienced you. The next time you make a call, we will give you 30 seconds or one minute for free.’”
Earlier this year, MTN faced criticism from subscribers as a Communication Workers Union (CWU) strike saw services being impacted.
Nyati said that changing the perception of the operator was a process.
“Is this something that’s going to be done overnight? No, it’s not. Already in these three months, people who are dealing with us say they are starting to see differences.”