Millions of mobile users owning basic mobile phones across Africa and Asia are now able to join the online community using a new low-cost USSD messaging service from Etisalat. This service will provide access to email, social networking and messaging services, to basic mobile devices and feature phones at very affordable prices. This follows an agreement between the Etisalat Group, the leading operator in the Middle-East, Africa and Asia, and Mahindra Comviva, the global leader in providing mobile financial and value added solutions, which was signed at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
The Group-level partnership agreement was signed at Etisalat’s stand in Hall 2 2B110 by Etisalat Group’s Chief Commercial Officer, Rainer Rathgeber and Ambar Sur, Global Market Unit Head for Mahindra Comviva. The contract for Etisalat Nigeria was signed by Steven Evans, CEO for Etisalat Nigeria and Kaustubh Kashyap, Mahindra Comviva’s Global Key Account Manager for Etisalat. Also present were Essa Al Haddad, who is both the Etisalat Group’s CEO for Africa and vice chairman of EMTS and Manoranjan Mohapatra, Mahindra Comviva’s CEO.
The partnership provides Etisalat’s 139 million subscribers across Middle East, Africa and Asia with consumer email, instant messaging, social networking, phone book backup services as well as popular news/web feeds and other relevant applications over their mobile phone. They can do this either through downloading an application or via USSD, SMS or MMS messages which eliminates the users’ dependence on smartphones. This effectively provides access to contemporary web services to every mobile handset. The platform will be deployed in a single location within the UAE, while the services will be made available to all the 15 affiliates of Etisalat.
The first Etisalat market to deploy the new messaging solution is Etisalat Nigeria, whose 15 million subscribers will soon be able to enjoy the benefit of advanced communications on any handset. Steven Evans, CEO Etisalat Nigeria explained the rationale behind being the first Etisalat operating unit to deploy the new messaging solution. He said, “Nigeria has a vast population of young people a majority of which are basic-phone holders with no or minimum data capabilities. As we continue to attract new customers to our network across various segments, it is our desire that we are able to address their needs to enjoy emailing, instant messaging, and social networking amongst other services no matter the type of handset they are using.
“Etisalat Nigeria is acclaimed the industry leader in innovation and mobile broadband so this latest addition to our portfolio further reinforces our positioning and opens new opportunities to customers to experience firsthand some of the exciting services we have to offer through this partnership”. Meanwhile, the telecoms company has launched a new tariff plan dubbed Easyday. The new tariff plan enables subscribers on its easy starter and easy cliq packages enjoy lower tariffs based on their daily spend.
The Easyday tariff plan which is available to Etisalat’s
existing and prospective subscribers is activated once the subscriber reaches a certain threshold, allowing customers on the package to get low tariffs to make all their national calls for the rest of the day. New subscribers can activate and enjoy the new tariff plan, by buying either an easycliq or easy starter line, and then opting-into the Easy day plan to get lower call tariffs daily.
Explaining the tariff plan, Wael Ammar, chief commercial officer, Etisalat Nigeria, said, “This is a unique tariff plan based on regressive billing such that when you have used up to a particular amount in a day, your call cost per second is instantly lowered. Once you opt-in to easy day, your tariff drops first to 40k/sec to all networks. Once a subscriber then spends N50 in a day, either on calls, SMS or PAYG data, all subsequent calls will be charged at 20k/sec for the rest of the day ” he said