Mr Mike Adenuga
Emma Okonji writes that the recent launch of Glo Gista is a reflection of Globacom’s drive for value-added service offerings that have moved beyond voice and data, delivering varieties of content for consumers
From the advent of Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) in 2001, telecoms operators have been neck-deep in offering voice telephony services to consumers, whose needs at that time were primarily to make voice calls to their loved ones and business associates.
The scenario, however, changed with the coming of new technologies like the third and fourth generation technologies (3G and 4G) as well as the Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, which created a new platform for telecoms operators to be more innovative in providing value-added services (VAS) for the comfort of their customers, a situation that is creating healthy competition among telecoms operators as they brainstorm on new VAS that will better the lots of their subscribers.
VAS allows the operators to increase the average revenue per user (ARPU) among subscribers and increase profitability for operators.
With new technologies, operators are now introducing new mobile applications, some of which are web-based, and all these have changed the lifestyle of subscribers and have improved on their businesses.
President of the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), Mr. Deolu Ogunbanjo, said he was satisfied with value-added services from telecoms operators, but challenged them to consider their service quality offerings, while coming up with new innovative services. According to him, “VAS has spiced up telephony in recent times and consumers can now do a lot of things from their mobile phones, apart from just making calls and sending text messages. This is a good development, but the operators must be able to provide good service quality in order to sustain their value-added services.”
VAS in Mobile Networks
VAS is as popular as a telecommunications industry term for non-core services, and for all services beyond standard voice calls and fax transmissions. However, it can be used in any service industry, for services available at little or no cost, to promote primary business. In the telecommunication industry, value-added services add value to the standard service offering, spurring the subscriber to use their phone more and allowing the operator to drive up their ARPU. For mobile phones, technologies like Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Services (MMS) and data access were historically usually considered value-added services, but in recent years SMS, MMS and data access have become more of core services, and VAS therefore is beginning to exclude those services.
Value-added services are supplied either in-house by the mobile network operator themselves or by a third-party value-added service provider (VASP), also known as a content provider (CP).
VASPs typically connect to the operator using protocols like Short message peer-to-peer protocol (SMPP), connecting either directly to the short message service centre (SMSC) or, increasingly, to a messaging gateway that gives the operator better control of the content.
The internet is fast making inroads into the mobile domain and in some markets there are now more people with internet access via the mobile phone than through the computer and the fixed line. Mobile operators are exploiting the opportunity by putting in place infrastructure to enable their customers to use their phones to buy goods and services and to recharge their prepaid accounts.
Today, telecoms operators have built and integrated SMS banking applications on mobile phone to allow bank customers check their account balances and conduct transactions or initiate requests via SMS from their mobile phones.
Some new applications now supply and integrate SMS gateway which allow employees of a firm to send SMS messages from their desktops to any GSM phone, and to send email to colleagues on the internal network or to any email address on the internet.
Head Value-added Services for Globacom, Mr. Samson Isa, told THISDAY that Globacom remained passionate about VAS, since it has many benefits for subscribers.
“As a wholly Nigerian company, we are committed to adding value to our subscribers and this is why we regularly roll out products that enable them to make calls conveniently without stress to their pockets,” Isa said.
Some of the latest products for value-added service from Globacom include “Glo Biz Card”, which enables customers to share contact information with people they call on daily basis, “Super SMS “that affords customers to send text messages with ease, International Top Up Card, Verve M-PIN powered by Glo Txt Cash, Pocket Internet, Recharge and Rejoice, G Bam Hi 5ive that is assisting a lot of Nigerians to acquire education through scholarships and many others.
With Globacom’s value-added services, it is fun and laughter all the way, Isa said.
Glo Gista is Globacom’s regressive price plan which rewards customers to pay less for talking more. It is another value-added service product from Globacom that automatically connects anybody who buys a new prepaid Glo line to enjoy low call rates and other innovative products and services on the Glo network. It was launched last month in Lagos.
Speaking on the latest value-added service product, Customer Care Officer for Globacom, Mr. Adeniyi Olukoya, said the new Glo Gista enabled subscribers to spend less on more calls whenever and wherever they want. “Glo Gista removes every restriction and keeps customer talking all day long,” he said.
Subscribers can also make calls to five international destinations at N7.80 per minute after the first minute at N15 per minute.
“These are all part of the passion which the Glo brand has demonstrated to enrich the lives of all our customers. At Globacom, we brought innovation to the telecoms industry when we pioneered per second billing in the country. Recently, we started rewarding our customers with up to 200 per cent bonus on every recharge from N200 and above. This has never happened before in the Nigerian telecoms market and we are poised to reward our customers with more for staying connected on the Glo network.”
He said Globacom demonstrated its passion for innovative products for its subscribers, through its recent partnership with MTV Base to present a wave making programme titled “The Glo Big Friday Show” that will bring top-class entertainment to Africans across the continent.