MTN Cameroon has announced the launch of MTN Virtual, which is aimed at orienting the economics of telephony towards those consumers in Cameroon who are at the base of the consumer hierarchy...
MTN Cameroon, one of Africa’s major telecoms providers, has launched MTN Virtual, a service that “considerably transforms” the economics of individual telephony access and has enabled MTN to gain rapid entry into the vast and under-penetrated BoP (Base of Pyramid) consumer segment.
MTN Virtual is based on Comviva’s award-winning Virtual SIM solution (Comviva is the former Bharti Telesoft). Virtual SIM requires no special handsets, SIM cards or additional client software - it “works instantly on all mobile handsets.” By deploying Virtual SIM, MTN has been able to extend affordable communications to people unable to own a handset. Previously under-served segments can now make and receive calls, send and receive SMSs and make remittances virtually, using other people's phones. These consumers currently share phones with family and friends, and use street-side payphones managed by agents, or community phones. With Virtual SIM they gain a unique mobile identity, with their own phone number and virtual phone account.
MTN Virtual has gained strong traction within the Cameroon market, gaining over 30,000 new subscribers in less than eight months of operation. Speaking about MTN Virtual, Cielo Nzokiza, Consumer Segment Manager, MTN Cameroon, said, “With MTN Virtual, we have been able to reach new market segments, who were previously under-served. By extending mobile communications to both the base of pyramid segment – and to people who require an additional number but only want one phone - we have tapped into strong, latent demand. With MTN Virtual we are introducing a whole new group of people to the power of mobile communications.”
Elaborating on the concept, Comviva CEO Manoranjan Mohapatra said, “Comviva’s Virtual SIM solution helps operators drive mobile penetration to under-served segments, providing an entry level, affordable proposition for low income groups in emerging markets. It is an ideal solution to connect the unconnected 2.7 billion people who already live in areas covered by mobile networks but who are not yet mobile subscribers...We see Virtual SIM as a critical element in enabling greater economic growth and well-being, the link between mobile penetration and economic growth being a well-established fact.”
* MTN Cameroon is part of the MTN Group. As of June 2009, MTN Cameroon counted approximately 4,070,000 active subscribers, 62% of the total, making it the largest mobile operator in Cameroon.
** Comviva provides integrated VAS solutions for mobile operators in emerging markets. It has deployed solutions for operator customers in more than 80 countries worldwide and its solutions help power services to over 500 million mobile subscribers globally. Comviva’s solutions reach one in three mobile users in the emerging markets of Asia, Africa and the Middle East.