Before MTN launched their services and products in Uganda, Celtel had such a supernormal monopoly that it was common for so many Ugandans to refer to the few available mobile handsets as Celtel.
Even when Celtel was overly expensive and only affordable to the wealthy, it enjoyed an obvious monopoly that it was hard to imagine another telecom service provider ever stepping in and taking over the market.
When Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) entered the Ugandan market, not only did they revolutionize the entire telecom landscape but also went ahead to become the market leaders.
With innovation after innovation, affordable services and customer centered packages, MTN has since become the comfortable market leader with the biggest number of subscribers at about 7.9 million.
It is MTN’s affordability and customer centeredness that probably inspired Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL)’s Mango brand, which focused more on University students and other low income earners at the time. However, not even the existence of Mango prevented MTN from strengthening their position at the top.
MTN came in with amazing promotions that are part of the reasons that aided their rise to the top of the market. Such promotions as MTN Zone, a service that allows subscribers to make cheap calls depending on traffic in their location, have enabled so many subscribers to make affordable calls. MTN Zone is just to mention one out of so many other promotions and packages that have created affordability of telecom services over the years.
There was a time when telecom services had become affordable, but handsets were still expensive.
That is when MTN introduced the cheapest phones in the market called Kabiriti. You must remember Kabiriti, a promotion that was spear headed by Bobi Wine. This was a clear statement that MTN were here for a real revolution. The campaign promotion saw thousands own phones at affordable rates for the first time. With the success of Kabiriti, other telecoms followed suit, bringing on market cheaper promotional headsets.
MTN took the revolution a notch higher into the financial sphere when they introduced MTN Mobile Money, the game changer. In about four years, MTN Mobile Money has become a huge brand in itself. It has become a strong part of people’s day to day lives as it enables financial transactions of individuals, companies and other businesses.
To go a notch higher, MTN Mobile Money went abroad after a partnership with Western Union. With the new partnership, MTN Mobile Money subscribers can now send and receive money from any part of the world where Western Union operates.
In the internet world, MTN has had a number of innovative packages as well. They were the first to introduce MTN Broadband Internet, where Orange came in as a stronger competitor.
MTN then introduced the amazingly fast 3G internet and has recently introduced the 4G LTE super fast internet, the first of its kind in the region. MTN serves the biggest market of Mobile Internet users, with charges from as low as 500 Uganda Shillings.
MTN introduced the MTN Data Center which provides companies with such services as network collocation as well as a range of hosting or management services. This has helped reduce their clients’ operating expenses and lowered the risks associated with the same.
When it comes to social-corporate responsibility and giving back to the community, MTN has obviously led in the field, with the MTN Marathon being one of their most prominent ventures.
The MTN Marathon directly impacts the people, since all proceeds there from are pumped into projects that directly benefit needy communities.
The story of MTN is therefore that of a service provider that not only eliminated monopoly but went ahead to become the best; the story of a revolutionary market leader.