MTN’s Voice SMS catching on in Uganda

Three months after launching its Voice SMS service in Uganda, MTN has ordered an upgrade to triple the capacity of the Voice SMS system following an impressive adoption rate. Launched across Uganda, the service is based on technology from Kirusa, and has already seen adoption by over 11% of MTN’s subscribers.

Voice SMS allows the subscribers to send messages by voice, eliminating the need to type. It enables the subscribers to communicate faster and with greater ease. Users dial * followed by the number to record and send a message. The recipient receives an SMS notification for each new Voice SMS and can listen to the messages by dialing *0* or a DirectListen number embedded in the SMS notification. Users can send messages to other MTN users, as well as to subscribers of other mobile carriers in Uganda. The service is being promoted, and awareness is being created in the subscriber base, using several methods, including USSD, SMS, MTN retail outlets, and radio.

MTN introduced tiered pricing for Voice SMS for prepaid subscribers with discounted pricing for sending Voice SMS to on-net subscribers and during off-peak hours. Postpaid subscribers pay one price for sending Voice SMS to on-net and off-net at all times. All subscribers also received free repeat listen calls for a three-month period.

Voice SMS has been performing extremely well at MTN Uganda since the launch. The Voice SMS adoption figure in the first month of launch was around 8% and the usage was around four Voice SMS compose calls per user. By the second month, the adoption had increased to 11%. Moving forward, MTN has been experiencing significant retention for Voice SMS service, with 75% of total users being existing users.

Commenting on the occasion, Isaac Nsereko, Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Uganda, said: “We are delighted with the success of Voice SMS service with our subscribers. The service has been receiving an overwhelming response from our subscribers since its launch as they have found it an innovative medium to communicate.”

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