Sub-Saharan African Telecom Operators Work To Improve Service Delivery

By Staff Published: November 30, 2017, 4:25 am
Telecom operators - Are South Africans NaijaphobicMTN Nigeria office. Photo: Premium Times/All Africa

The telecom operators with the most active customers are MTN in Ghana and Nigeria, Safaricom and Vodacom in Kenya and South Africa respectively and Airtel in Uganda, according to a recent GeoPoll straw poll.

The poll sought to determine the level of customer service and service delivery among telecommunications operators in sub-Saharan Africa.

From GeoPoll. Story by Njeri Wangari.

The rate of mobile phone and internet penetration in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) continues to grow.

At the end of 2016, there were 420 million mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa; the region continues to grow faster than any other region, according to the Mobile Economy Sub-Saharan Africa 2017 report by GSMA.

The same report projects that the region will have more half a billion subscribers by 2020. At the heart of this growth are the telecom operators.

The GeoPoll straw poll had 2,700 respondents in five different sub-Saharan African countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Uganda.

It focused on various aspects of service delivery such as active users, internet coverage and voice distribution, ratings on voice, data cost and; quality of internet speeds and customer service.

They also sought to uncover the likelihood of recommendation of the various telecom operators by their customers to their friends or family.

Move Towards Customer Focused Marketing Strategy

A GeoPoll poll on the level of customer service in the telecoms sector comes just a month after the world marked the annual Customer Service week – a time celebrated during the first full week in the month of October when customer-oriented organizations and institutions around the world recognize the importance of customer service excellence to their organizations.

Companies are moving towards a more customer-focused marketing strategy as opposed to the product-focused marketing strategy characterized in the 1970s.

To mark this day, we published a straw poll survey report on the state of customer satisfaction in the retail banking sector in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria as part of a series focusing on the banking and the telecoms sectors.

In listing the top four digital transformation priorities for African telecom operators, the Soko directory website lists improving customer experience as the number one priority.

Indeed, cost, coverage and service delivery feature among the high priorities for telecoms customers.

The telecom operators with the most active customers are MTN in Ghana and Nigeria, Safaricom and Vodacom in Kenya and South Africa respectively, and Airtel in Uganda, the straw poll reports.

Although the scope of the survey did not focus on what aspects the telecom’s service offering users are active on, strong evidence suggests that the mobile users are utilizing data services to access the internet.

A new report by Analysys Mason, predicts that the African telecoms market is set to be one of the main growth success stories for the telecoms sector in the next five years.

The report also projects that smartphones will account for 26 percent of handsets in sub-Saharan Africa by 2018, as device prices decline and users upgrade.

The report notes that telecom operators continue to stimulate smartphone adoption via targeted campaigns, promotions on low-cost smartphones, and bundled data packages.

As the mobile telecoms market begins to mature, African service providers are beginning to offer new products, according to the African Business magazine. 

The focus has switched away from securing ever more subscribers, towards boosting their average revenue per user (ARPU) rates through encouraging greater data consumption and mobile banking. Having an increased number of active users is good for the telecoms business.

Improved Service Delivery

The straw poll confirms that there has generally been an improvement in service delivery from the telecom operators as the number of mobile subscribers and time spent on phone increase.

Mobile users are satisfied with the quality of voice delivery. The average rating given across the different operators is 7.2 points; The ratings were determined on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being very poor and 10 being excellent.

The telecom operators with the most active users also scored well on: data and voice costs, coverage for mobile internet and voice; quality of internet speed as well as in customer service.

Mobile users in the five countries are likely to recommend their telecom operator to friends and family.

Mobile data usage is on the rise. The increase in data traffic is particularly strong in Africa. As a result, the continent’s telecommunications sector, especially the operators and the regulators, are geared to experience a drastic transformation.

Service delivery and cost remain the main value propositions that telecoms will compete.

Read more at GeoPoll.

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