A recent report from the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) indicates that mobile subscribers are increasingly communicating via voice calls and this is thanks to promotions by telecom operators.
UCC released the quarter one report for 2021 which revealed that between January to March, mobile subscribers made more phone calls during the period compared to December.
“The sector recorded a total of 15.5 billion billed minutes up from 14.8 billion minutes recorded in the quarter ending December 2020. Subsequently, this resulted in a 5% quarter to quarter aggregate growth in traffic from 3% posted in the preceding quarter,” UCC revealed in the report.
UCC attributed the performance to the pricing promotional offers and slight subscription growth. For instance, MTN Uganda recently announced that the telecom hit 15 million subscribers.
On-net voice calls, which stand for calls made on the same network contributed the bulk of the talk time.
The report indicates that the market averaged 5.1 billion on net minutes per month during the quarter, with an on-net monthly traffic peak in March of 5.2 billion minutes.
The dominance of on-net traffic is attributed to the pricing differential caused by discounted promotional bundles coupled with spend and usage profiling offers by telecommunication operators.
MTN currently has different voice bundles under its My PakaPaka promotion, where MTN to MTN voice calls are discounted to make the service affordable for customers. To give more talk time to its subscribers, the telco revised the promotion to allow subscribers to enjoy even more minutes at the same cost.
For instance, MTN currently offers 45 on-net minutes at UGX1,000, 30 on-net minutes at UGX750, and 20 on-net minutes at UGX600.
Somdev Sen, MTN Uganda Chief Marketing Officer said promotions such as My PakaPaka have enabled customers to make phone calls at cheap rates which are especially critical during this Covid-19 pandemic period as many people need to save money for consumption.
“We are cognizant of the current challenging times and because of this, we sought to provide some sort of relief to our customers by ensuring they can afford voice call services at a reasonably priced rate. This will allow them to channel some of their savings towards supporting themselves and their families during these tough times,” Somdev explained.
He went on to say that MTN strives to boost inclusion and that not only includes financial inclusion but also communication.
“You need to keep in touch with your loved ones during these times. It is important to communicate with all your people especially at this time when movement is very limited. We commit to always provide quality and affordable services to Ugandans,” he said.
Off-net minutes per month however averaged 52.4 million during the quarter, with an off-net traffic peak in January of 54.5 million minutes.
Voice calls have been steadily dropping in price in comparison to the olden days when a unit of talk time costs above UGX300.
With the increase in the adoption of telephony services, Ugandans are expected to enjoy affordable services even more.