The Renewed Telcos Competition

Mike Adenuga, Chairman, Globacom

With the recent launch of Oga SIM by the Globacom brand, Raheem Akingbolu reckons that players in the telecom sector appear set for another round of competition

Towards the end of the year when good manufacturers and service providers are getting set to boost sales, the media naturally go abuzz and the Nigerian consumers of products are sucked into the frenzies of reward programmes and innovative offerings.

While some promotions offer mouth-watering cash rewards to lucky consumers for their loyal patronage, others creatively skew the pricing of their goods and services, while some introduce new products to attract more patronage or retain loyal customers. Yet others offer below-the-line shows and activations coupled with raffle draws designed to both create fun and reward customers who had stayed with their brands through the year.
This year, telecom operators in the country appear to have started early. While MTN is believed to be leveraging on its “What Can We Do Together (WCWDT)” a corporate social responsibility(CSR) project, Airtel is using its ‘Touching Lives’ initiative to boost the image of the Airtel brand.

However, beyond CSR and promotions, Globacom is believed to have raised the bar with the introduction of Oga SIM to rev up activities in the nation’s telecommunications industry. The data market particularly has gone agog with excitement as telecom users scrutinize the benefits of the new product and compare it with pre-existing offers.

Oga SIM, in a manner of speaking, upturns the apple cart by offering new data subscribers a whopping 125 per cent bonus on data bundle subscriptions. This benefit also covers old data subscribers who have not used Globacom’s data service in the last three months. To analysts, the product offer trumps similar offers from other operators in terms of the sheer value it delivers to telecom users. The product was formally unveiled to the media by top executives of Globacom at the company’s Victoria Island, head office in Lagos about four weeks ago.

According to Globacom’s Regional Chief Marketing Officer, Ashok Israni, the benefit of 125 per cent bonus on data bundle subscription is automatic. He said a subscriber needs not do anything other than simply buy a data subscription of his or her choice.

“A new subscriber who buys N500 worth of data subscription will automatically get 1.8GB of data instead of the usual 800MB; one who buys N1000 data package gets 3.6GB instead of 1.6GB, N2000 fetches the subscriber 8.2GB instead of 3.6GB, while N2,500 gives a whopping 12.9GB instead of 5.75GB.Israni called the offer “unmatchable” and a “must have” for every telecom consumer, as it links subscribers with their passion points. The value to be derived from Oga SIM can either be shared or gifted,”

Speaking further, Israni stated that the offering is consistent with the nonconformist and persistently innovative persona of the Glo brand. The CMO added that it is a persona that has ensured that the company keeps breaking fresh frontiers in the country’s telecommunications space right from its inception.

“It is the same persona that has kept the company growing at astronomic rate. Globacom was the last to enter the telecommunications industry among the first three operators to launch commercial Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) service in Nigeria. In no time, the company ascended to the spot of the second largest telecommunications network in Nigeria, basically on the back of creative and innovative offerings,” he said.

Strength of the brand
Maintaining its winning streak, most industry watchers have admitted that Globacom has, again, trumped the other operators in terms of subscriber growth in the latest statistics released by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for the month of July 2018. According to the report, Globacom amassed 214,646 new subscribers in the month of July, taking its customer base to over 40.3 million. Globacom’s addition of 214,646 subscribers constituted the largest gain by any operator in July. Airtel garnered the second most number of subscribers, as it added 149,880 new customers, growing from 39,898,448 in June to 40,048,328 in July.

The NCC report showed that Globacom has added a total of 2,153,374 new subscribers this year. In terms of Internet subscribers on mobile devices, Globacom accounted for most of the growth during the review period. Total number of data users in the country rose by 866,656, from 102.81 million in June to 103.67 million in July.

Globacom took the lion share of 574,821 new internet users, with its data subscription rising from 26.57 million in June to 27.15 million in July. The additions represent 66 percent of the total of 866,656 new internet users in the industry. The open-arm embrace of the operator by telecom subscribers cannot be divorced from its aggressive roll-out of innovative products and services and continuous investment in its expansive network. Before Globacom launched Oga SIM, it had first launched Glo Yakata, which offers up to 2,200 percent bonus on every N100 recharge and above. That was also a game-changer in its own right, as it topped what all the operators had been able to offer telecom consumers.

It was on account of its sterling achievements in the telecommunications sector that Globacom and its chairman, Mike Adenuga Jr. were publicly celebrated as heroes of the telecommunications industry by the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) recently. Adenuga and Globacom were given primal positioning in ATCON’s book celebrating heroes of the telecom industry. The book, 100 Leading Telecom & ICT Personalities in Nigeria, chronicles the contributions of 100 outstanding individuals and their companies to the growth and development of Nigeria’s telecommunications sector.

The 365-page book was formally presented to the crème-de-la-crème of the telecom industry, including the Minister of Communications Technology, Chief Adebayo Shittu, and the man who piloted the affairs of the industry when the telecom revolution took off, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe. ATCON noted that Adenuga and Globacom earned the coveted spot for pioneering a long list of innovations, which have helped to shape the high-flying telecommunications sector of the Nigerian economy.

Aside celebrating the man behind the brand, some of the outstanding contributions of Globacom to the telecom sector were highlighted. These include its now famous introduction of per second billing of customers into Nigeria’s telecom lexicon. That singular act alone is credited with rapid stimulation of competition in the sector, with the concomitant explosion of highly competitive telecom service offerings from the operators who were eager to outdo each other in pleasing consumers. The feat attracted accolades at the time because efforts of telecom consumers to get pre-existing operators to introduce per second billing (PSB) were abortive as the operators said it was not feasible at the time. PSB introduction made it much easier for Nigerians to get value for money by paying only for the exact time spent on calls, the book stated.

The book further documented the fact that Globacom crashed the cost of GSM SIM and tariff from N20,000 and N50 per minute respectively to as low as N200 and 5 kobo per second, thus helping to aggressively boost telephone penetration in the country.

Globacom’s consistency in the area of innovative offerings has earned it laurels from far and near in the last 15 years. Recently, the brand Glo was ranked the fourth most admired African brand in the 2018 ranking of brands in Africa by Brand Africa, an independent non-profit organisation committed to promoting business excellence on the continent. The propelling force behind the company’s giant strides has been its founder, Adenuga, who has consistently proven to be an inexhaustible reservoir of revolutionary ideas that have kept competitors in the sector on their toes. His indefatigable efforts in revolutionising the Nigerian telecoms industry have earned him awards both locally and internationally, the most recent of which is the Commandeur de la Legion d’Honneur (CLH), personally bestowed on him by the France President, Mr. Emmanuel Macron.

As the year approaches the end, with many brands pushing for more market share, the introduction of Oga SIM at this point, may be the key needed by the brand to further position itself as innovation leader as well as unlocking the heart of consumers.