INTERVIEW: Ian Mugambe on Why MTN Invests a Lot in Internet

MTN Uganda’s Customer Segment Manager High Value, Ian Mugambe (L) with ChimpReports' Paul Mugume during the interview

Aside from the mobile financial services, page voice and sms services, online one of the biggest fields that MTN Uganda is investing in apparently is the internet and data service.

This has been witnessed by a number of ventures and measures taken by the company to promote internet usage amongst Ugandans, ranging from the High class down to the lowest persons at the grass root.

MTN has furthered their ambitions of making sure all Ugandans can access internet through availing different data packages that favor all classes of people according to their demands, not forgetting the different sales promotions like the famous “Juzza Internet” where any amount of data loaded was doubled.

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Earlier in May, the company acquired USD 114 million syndicated loan from different local and foreign banks, which the then CEO, Brian Gouldie said was to be used to ensure that the company offers enhanced quality service and expand 3G internet coverage across the country.

ChimpReports caught up with Ian Mugambe, MTN Uganda’s Customer Segment Manager High Value who took us through the reasons why the company is so much interested in investing in internet and why they (MTN) think internet is relevant to Ugandans at the time.

Mugambe says that with the advancement in technology, internet has become the way to go hence the energy that the company is putting in making sure all Ugandans can access it with ease.

“Most of the products being consumed today are based on the internet so we have to position ourselves as a telecommunications partner so that we not only respond to but answer our clients’ needs especially on internet.”

Why do you think people running SMEs need internet?

As it is right now, it’s a global village. From your business home here in Uganda, you can check out the goods and commodities that you would want to buy, for example those in importation business.

In the case of car dealers, internet makes it easy for you to have eyes in Japan so that you can decide on which type of car you might want to import.

As for local farmers, with internet, you can get all the exposure to make your business much better. It can help you identify what you are lacking and what you need to do, to better your farms.

Why should someone consider MTN when looking for an Internet Service Provider?          

MTN Understood the need for internet, that’s why we even ran an advert saying “Internet is a universal human right.”

Aside from that, we are the most heavily invested in terms of infrastructure and bandwidth. Any corner of the country today that has MTN coverage can get access to our internet.

Secondly, our prices are very good and are made better with our promotions like “Juzza Internet” If you load internet starting from 100MB going up, its doubled. That way, we give value to our customers and no other player beats that.

People Claim MTN Internet Rates are High compared to other service Providers. Do you think they are right?

In my opinion, that is a perception which is not entirely true. When you get to experience our internet, and compare with other players, you realize our internet rates and the speed at which bundles get depleted are favorable.

When MTN Internet Expires, clients are not allowed to carry it on when they load another bundle. Why does MTN do that and whats the future plan about that?

What we do is to ensure we give a customer value for their money, and using Juzza Internet as an example, we involve our customers to make sure we evolve our products that are relevant to the present times.

We shall continue to receive customer feedback and come up with products that will appeal and address their day to day lifestyles.

We have about 30 products in data and surely in 30 products, knowing what you want to use internet for, you will find a product that will be favorable.

If you know you want to use internet for just a few hours, you won’t need to buy a weekly bundle. We give u chance to buy what you need and use it in the time you want and as it is right now, we double your data when you buy 100mb and more.

We also have happy hours and night shifts that give chance to people who want to download a lot of stuff from the internet in a specified time.

What was the main reason why MTN brought up Juzza Internet campaign?

We want to give our clients value for their money and also give back to them.

We had recently enhanced our internet services and wanted our customers to get an experience of the new platform without worrying about their data.

How do you think MTN can better their services?

We just need to continually listen to the customer. What the customer wants, will guide the decisions made and the innovations that could come up.

How do you get to hear from the customers?

We make it a habit to go to the field and engage the customers.

There is also the researches that we conduct for example synovate and other firms that have been deployed out there to keep telling us what the customers are saying about us, what they don’t like about us and what the competition is doing that we are not.

We consolidate all that feedback and we derive a way forward.

Do you make specific bundles for specific groups of people?

Totally. Yes, we do. Each situation requires a different approach or a different product. Even if you are an SME today and your contact in China tells you that they have sent you an invoice, all you need is a daily bundle, read the message and the next day you can plan what u need for your business.

We also have Kazi bundles that are tailored specifically for the SMEs with internet data, sms and voice minutes which you can share with your employees, family and clients, up to like 16 people to enable them grow and develop.

We have Go Bundles which pretty much do the same with data, minutes and sms so there is all solutions for all colleagues and friends in the SME space to utilize.

We have products that will enable your 360. In the case of SMEs, we have products that will enable business life, family life and social life.

People complain that MTN Internet is Expensive. What do you think?

Before we tackle the expensive bit, there is an education challenge that the whole telecommunications sector is facing, but to answer the question, I don’t think MTN internet is expensive. Our prices are very reasonably priced, if you look at the value we give you.

Going back to the education bit, a lot of our customers need to be assisted on how the internet works and how their devices actually work.

We have many of the customers who still can’t appreciate what a smart phone can do. Someone opens a browser forgets to close it and they say internet is expensive.

Joining too many whatsapp groups which send images and videos, downloading many apps that keep updating automatically, and unfortunately at the end of it all, no one blames the app but they blame the ISP.

It’s like driving home, get your car in the garage and you forget to switch off the engine. You can’t blame the gas station that their fuel gets burnt quickly.

As MTN, Have you made an effort to educate the public about Internet Usage?

It’s already ongoing. We tell people how to better manage their data through our social media like facebook and twitter.

We tell people how to use wifi hotspots because that’s another powerful tool in minimizing data usage.

Data used on wifi hotspots is less priced than the usual. If you are going to update apps, its better you use a hotspot rather than the usual.

How wide are the wifi hotspots spread?

At the moment we have more than 80 wifi hotspots country wide, the bulk of them being in Kampala and we are still enhancing our capacity as a company to meet our clients’ needs.


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