MTN Ghana has announced it will be launching the first sponsored data service in Ghana in partnership with Datami and Viotech.
The sponsored data services will allow customers to use data services at the expense of a third party company. The service will enable companies to pay for data usage of customers who use specific content from the sponsoring company. This means that customers will be able to access websites, browse, use applications, stream and enjoy content of the sponsoring company without data being deducted from the customer’s account.
Commenting on the service, the Chief Marketing Officer of MTN Ghana, Asher Yaqub Khan, said: “With a vision to lead the delivery of a bold new digital world, MTN will continue to drive the digital agenda in the Ghanaian market. We are confident that this service will play a key role in helping individuals connect with businesses; it will also help them to access more information at any given time.
Mr. Khan added: “The launch of this innovative service will also enable our valued customers to experience MTN’s 4G LTE services. Sponsored data is an important new mobile marketing opportunity for businesses.”
The CEO of Datami, Harjot Saluja, also commenting on the launch of the service, said: “We are thrilled to be working with MTN and Viotech on this transformative service. Very soon, mobile customers in Ghana will be able use their favourite apps and services without worrying about the cost of the service.”
Daniel Abunu, Managing Director of Viotech, said: “This is a first in West Africa, and we are thrilled to be partnering with one of the most innovative operators in Africa to bring the service to market. Sponsored data will increase digital inclusion in Ghana through unique marketing campaigns and promotions that allow people to access mobile content and apps free of data charges.
MTN’s sponsored data service will provide endless opportunities for the sponsoring companies. The service will give sponsoring organisations the opportunity to adopt innovative processes in their business operations.
MTN currently leads the data market with a 49.25% share, and more than nine million data subscribers as at April 2016.
Rwanda: MTN launches 4G LTE on mobile devices
MTN has announced the launch of services in Rwanda. The company revealed that the service will be available to customers who own LTE-enabled devices. This latest development, according to MTN, will allow customers to maintain a full 4G experience during a call.
Speaking about the service MTN Chief Executive Officer, Gunter Engling said: “We at MTN aim to provide our customers with the best possible user experience by adapting new technologies such as the introduction of 4G LTE on mobile devices.”
Han-Sung Yoon, Chief Executive Officer of Olleh Rwanda networks, also commented on the launch by saying that: “Olleh commends MTN Rwanda for this achievement and pledges continuous support towards more innovative solutions based on 4G LTE Technology.”
MTN revealed that to enjoy the 4G experience, existing subscribers will have to upgrade their SIM cards to a 4G SIM card. Once connected to the 4G network, customers will dial *345# and select the 4G bundle to purchase a daily, weekly or monthly pack.
Mobile phone usage used to track economic status in Rwanda
A trio of researchers has used metadata from mobile phone users in Rwanda to predict economic status for populations in that country. In their paper published in the journal Science, Joshua Blumenstock and Gabriel Cadamuro with the University of Washington and Robert On with the University of California, describe how their study worked, how accurate it was and how other similar types of efforts might be used to help policymakers track poverty levels in a given area.
It is a well known fact that when someone uses a mobile phone, in addition to speaking with someone else, or sending text messages, they are also transmitting a lot of other information as well, such as their GPS coordinates, travel history, data use, etc. How that information is or has been used has been a hot topic of discussion among users, phone companies, governments and others. In this new effort, the research trio has shown that such data can also be used as a means of gauging the economic level of phone users and using that information to create maps of economic prosperity levels for groups throughout an entire country.
The researchers report that they chose to study Rwanda because prior research has shown that current economic indicators are generally thought to be unreliable there, and because mobile phone usage in that country is very high—up to 70 percent of the population uses them. To conduct the study, they worked with the phone carrier who provided service to the area—the carrier provided the team with metadata, which they put into an anonymized database. Next, they conducted a follow-up phone survey where they queried 856 mobile phone subscribers regarding their economic status and the sorts of things they owned. Finally, the team combined the data from the database with the information from the survey to build a computer model that created maps that showed wealth distribution geographically. Once the model was up and running, the team tested its accuracy by comparing it with census data, and found a correlation of approximation of 90 percent.