Tigo: putting customers first
One of the sectors that has seen tremendous achievements in 2012, as shown by the ICT Sector Profile 2012, is the telecoms sector where the number of active mobile subscribers has increased to 53.1%, up from 41.5 % in 2011. This is mainly due to the increased competition between telecoms operators, who offer access to data and voice services.
The Rwanda Focus had an exclusive interview with Tigo Rwanda's top officials about where the second largest mobile operator in the country is heading in the future. In future issues, we will also look at the two other mobile providers, MTN and Airtel.
Tigo Rwanda has now 32.80% of the total mobile market in Rwanda; based on this achievement, how do you see the year 2013 in terms of reaching to new subscribers?
"Tigo has a long term commitment to Rwanda and our goal is to reach 100% of the population. In everything we do we put the customers first and network improvement is no different," said Mathieu Dutrisac, Tigo Rwanda's head of products and marketing.
"Through constant surveys, but also innovation of our products and services, we have been encouraged by our customers' response. This close relationship continues to help us improve and make sure we provide a better experience to all our customers.
"Some of our recent services that came out this year are:
Lowering the rates of calls across networks in Rwanda;
Keeping our customers connected regardless of whether they are calling on Tigo or on other networks in the country;
Introducing Tigo Business and BlackBerry services to accommodate our customers who want to grow business, and offering a post-paid service that gives users a variety of plans and added services that allow them the freedom to call anyone on any network and to have full control of how much they talk and surf."
The percentage of individuals using the Internet came from 8% in 2011 and dramatically jumped to 26.2% in 2012. Everyone knows that -- with the fact that nearly every phone can now be connected to the Internet -- telecom companies played a major role I this. How has Tigo Rwanda facilitated individuals in this shift?
"We joined forces with the Ministry of Youth and ICT to increase the penetration of Internet usage in Rwanda, and as a result the statistics of 'Active Broadband Subscription' which refers to the number of individuals using the Internet at speeds equal to, or greater than 256 kbit/s, saw a big increase from 6.4% to 8% in only one year," said Patrick Athoungbre, Tigo Rwanda's category manager, information and solutions.
"At Tigo, we present a real unlimited Internet experience in more places in Rwanda. Our vast collection of data packs range from daily unlimited to weekly unlimited browsing and daily phone packages for users who enjoy browsing on their Internet-enabled phones.
"Tigo Cash is designed to be a very simple product that is affordable for anyone with any type of phone, and which is accessible via a widely available agent network."
"In addition, Tigo USB modems that allow a simplified access to Internet at a speed of 3.5G are available at the best price in Rwanda.
"In order to remove any hurdle to access the Internet, Tigo has affordable prices for multiple data-enabled phones available everyday at our service centers but also during Tigo Phone Festivals."
The year 2012 saw 1,440,541 mobile payment subscribers in Rwanda; what do you say about the success of Tigo Cash as well as its future? How do you think Tigo Cash is helping the unbanked population, especially the countryside?
"In 2012, we strengthened our agent network in and outside Kigali to give good access to Tigo Cash. Today we have over 1500 agents throughout the country reason for the success that you see now," said Tongai Maramba, Tigo Rwanda's head of mobile financial services.
"We strive to be everywhere for everyone and that is why the agent model is so important to us. It enables us to provide an agent in almost any area in Rwanda.
"Tigo Cash is designed to be a very simple product that is affordable for anyone with any type of phone, and which is accessible via a widely available agent network. We reduce the cost of transferring money by removing some of the most commonly felt pain points.
"Aside from offering our customers the ability to make payments and send money, Tigo Cash services include sending money (from as little as Frw 100) to anyone who has a mobile number in Rwanda, pay for taxi motos, buy airtime, pay school fees or purchase Cash Power
"All the above has been possible with the help of the state of the art technology that enables customers to access their wallet anywhere at any time while ensuring maximum protection of your wallet. The system ensures that only the owner of the account has access to the wallet by ensuring that the correct PIN (a 4-digit secret code known only by the account holder) is input into the menu."