ICT Africa Headline News

Telecommunications' Competition Broadening At Higher Pace

19 June, 2014

Source: Tanzania Daily News

TELECOMMUNICATION sector is among the sectors recording a superb progress in terms of innovation. Every day is seen ending with more innovations around.

Sleeping business is becoming a taboo because once you do that, next morning you may find yourself at the edge of the competition pitch.

All players in telecommunication sector are pushing harder to come up with more innovative ideas than their counterparts.

Money transfer is now becoming easier after the introduction of "interoperability" among three telecommunication companies; Tigo, Zantel and Airtel where by customers with these networks will now send and receive money across the three networks.

Tigo's General Manager in Tanzania Diego Gutierrez, was quoted during the launch as saying "we are delighted to work with Airtel and Zantel to extend the mobile money universe in Tanzania. With even more transaction possible our customers' money is made even more safe and secure with this technology."

In addition, mobile money transfer has helped to reduce queuing in paying bills, fees and many other payments that were to be made by someone showing up physically.

"It is now easy to pay school fees via phone at home, sending pocket money to my young brother is no longer an issue Mr Humphrey Masoud, a resident in Dar es Salaam says, adding:

"I had been using my bank account at the university just to receive loan from loans' board and after getting I transfer all to my mobile account as it is easier to do whatever I like at any time."

However, Mr John Bahhi who has worked in the banking sector with Access Bank (T) Ltd for more than three years says that there is no trouble or delays as ATMs help customers get money quickly. Also, a customer avoids unnecessary expenditures of money, compared to someone who is easily exposed to mobile money transfer, including mobile phone enabled money transaction.

The business competition among telecommunication companies, which is becoming stiff, is not only seen on mobile money transactions but also in other areas like advertising, human resource practices and sponsorship.

According to March 2013 intelligent report of push mobile, a media monitoring company telecommunication are the most advertising companies in the media.

Annually, an estimate of 17.8 billion is spent by these companies only for advertising. This mirrors how ethically or unethically these companies are competing.

"Although in advertising perspective is ethically deemed to be wrong using branding elements such colour, phrases or anything that symbolize your competitor, companies are seen applying this comparative advertising technique as a weapon.

The objective to finnish your competitor." A study dubbed "Assessment of ethical adherence on comparative advertising in Tanzania TV commercials."

Comparative advertising like saying mattresses' quality doesn't depend on where they are manufactured, be it Morogoro or Dodoma, one advert has been seeing stressing so.

According to the study mentioning Dodoma while is also a mattress brand in market adds more competition as the counterpart would want to revenge. This has vividly been observed in telecommunication companies adverts.

It has also been fashion-like to see one company launching certain campaign to its customers, in no more time you will see retaliation.

Companies are competing vigorously especially in innovating new products or services. For example Tigo Tanzania launched its campaign dubbed Mini Kabang, where her customers were set to benefit from cheaper calling costs and internet.

In no time Airtel and Vodacom came in vigorously with their own versions.

Seeing the above was not enough, the three giants Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel are still showing each other how innovative and consumer driven are.

Tigo is currently pushing forward its Kiswahili use in Facebook plus its Tigo pesa Apps. Vodacom on their part are capitalizing on their partnership with Commercial Bank of Africa on M-Pawa which was recently launched by His Excellency Jakaya Kikwete at Mlimani City Dar es Salaam.

While this was happening Airtel was breathing and pondering before coming up with its Switch On campaign where customers from the network can enjoy abundant internet bundles.

The competition of telecommunication sector is also viewed in sponsorship, human resources practices and advertising.

Referring to Occupational Health and Safety Authority, OSHA awards of 2014 and Association of Tanzania Employers Awards 2014 saw Vodacom Tanzania scooping awards in both ceremonies. Mr Oyuke Phostine, Public Relations and Media Executive of PR and advertising firm, 5IVE Tanzania says: "They give their consumers a freedom of choice from varieties. A consumer can choose one or two service providers for different products offered under it and this makes a market vibrant."

He also views the competition of telecommunication sector as an integral component in ensuring there is value for money.

"Companies have given a sense of value to money where a consumer can gauge how his or her money can be tied up by the service or products offered and of course it is the telecommunication companies that have alerted other sectors on importance of marketing advertising," Mr Phostine highlights.

Mr Phostine is urging telecommunication companies to see the importance of using both big and small PR and advertising firms in executing their marketing communication strategies.

"This competition should have acquired both big and small firms that can develop and manage their marketing communication strategies so as to avoid predictability and monotony of campaign ads. Adding that, "Mind you, an old dog is not taught a new trick but exposed to adaptability and changes.So this competition that is seen should incorporate small firms which are adaptable and flexible."

Commenting on the same, UDSM advertising student Mr Michael Christopher opinions as the competition will keep on as every company is struggling to be a brand talk in town.

"Don't you see the 'Mjini Kila Mtu baby' phrase is becoming like a vocabulary. Don't you recall the 'Hamia Airtel' where everyone was talking about?" the student says.

Mlimani TV Marketing Officer, Mr Mbwana Mnose is of different opinion about the sector's competition saying it is posing risk for legal actions among the operators.

"These companies will soon take each other to court because; infuriating to counter part is much booming to the extent of creating enmity beyond business," Mr Mnose notes.

He further notes that such provocative messages pose some difficulties even to media on how to schedule the competitors in a TV or radio programme citing how Firestone and General tyres are likely to put him into conflict.

"Firestones in one of its advert praised General tires but a worse part of it, Firestone portrayed General tires as the most accident causatives. So you can see the damage that is likely to happen if companies will not abide to ethical guidelines." Mr Mnose highlights

According to him the most profit bringers to media in term of advertising are NGOs, Social Security Funds and breweries. Telecommunications have many slots in media but they are not much paying compared to these.

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