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2009-07-02:How we provide service to 70m subscribers –MTech boss

By OMODELE ADIGUN

Many people probably do not know what value added service (VAS) means in the telecommunication industry. Ask Mr Chika Nwobi, the CEO of MTech and the brain behind the MTN downloads; the ring tones used in phones, he would tell you that “VAS segment of the telecoms industry is focused on developing products and services that mobile networks offer their customers to get more utility from their mobile phones.” In this piece, he discloses how lucrative the business could be.

The company
The company started operations in 2001 when many people didn’t understand what we were into and today, MTech is the leading provider of mobile value added services in Nigeria and works with mobile network operators, media organizations and large corporate organizations to develop, launch and run value added services for mobile users.

The vision of the company is to be the leading mobile content and media interactivity provider in Africa. MTech’s principal operations are in Nigeria with operating companies in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana. MTech plans to grow its business through geographic expansion into new markets in Africa and entry into new complementary business lines in media and ICT.

We are the market leaders in the VAS segment of the telecoms industry, which is focused on developing products and services that mobile networks offer to their customers to get more utility from their mobile phones. Some of the services, which MTech powers for the mobile operators include MTN Funtones, MTN Caller Tunes, Zain Central station and Glo Magic Plus. MTech also provides SMS voting on TV shows, like Nigerian Breweries’ StarQuest, and works with media organizations like CoolFM and HITV to deliver interactivity services. The company has experienced steady growth since its inception in 2001 when it launched MTN’s mobile internet service. Since then MTech has developed platforms to deliver mobile content for the four leading digital mobile operators in Nigeria and through partnerships with mobile operators, MTech provides services to over 70 million subscribers across Africa. The company revenues in 2007 stood at N600 million with gross profit of N398 million and profit after tax of N116 million. We plan to continue growing the business over the next five years by expanding to more markets in Africa and the Middle East as well as by developing new services to roll out into the fast growing telecoms market in Africa.

Mobile marketing

MTech’s mobile marketing services utilize mobile telephony as an advertising channel as follows:
Promotions: These are mobile –based initiatives that drive sales, support product launches or communicate specific brand-enhancing messages. Clients include MTV Base, Guinness and British American Tobacco.

MTech helps clients design mechanisms for capturing, growing and using databases. This allows clients to make more informed marketing decisions and also provides a cost effective medium for advertising. Clients include Virgin Nigeria Airways, Mu Metro Cinemas.
MTech develops custom solutions for organizations who want to leverage the mobile channel to improve internal or customer-facing operations. The company analyzes the customers’ requirements and design appropriate solutions, using its expertise in mobile technology and experience working in a variety of industries. Clients have included the Ford Foundation.

Products

MTech’s current business can be grouped as mobile content, media interactivity as well as mobile marketing and promotions.

Under mobile contents, MTech provides mobile content to mobile phone subscribers. Subscribers receive a wide variety of content and services, e.g. ringtones, ringback tones, logos, wallpaper, screensavers, interactive games, jokes, religious messages, local and international sports updates and breaking news. Mobile Contents is delivered in either white label services that is branded by operators or media partners and MTech-owned branded services.

Content delivery platforms

MTech develops the platforms through which the content is delivered. Varied delivery channels include voice, internet, SMS, MMS, GPRS and STK.
Our clients include MTN in Nigeria, Ghana, Uganda; safaricom in Kenya, Glo, Zain in Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana Multilinks.

Media interactivity

MTech has developed mobile media packages for print, internet, TV, and Radio organizations, working with them to develop mobile-based initiatives that are integrated with existing programming to increase listener and audience participation and interaction. For example, MTech provides SMS and viewer games and competitions for HITV. The most popular game last season was the “Wholslt” Game where viewers answer questions about their favourite players.

MTech is in partnership with Cosmo FM which covers 13 states in Eastern Nigeria for SMS-based mobile interactive services such as games, competitions, ringtones and joke downloads.
NTV is leading TV station in Kenya and is part of the Nation Media Group. MTech is partners with Nation Media Group for interactivity solution including content downloads like news and ringtones.
MTech provides opinion polls, SMS games and promotions as well as news downloads for Nigeria’s favourite tabloid newspapers.

Future outlook
Within the next three years, we want to grow our core mobile value added services (VAS) by strengthening the business in Nigeria. Pyramid Research estimates that mobile subscribers in Nigeria would rise from 47.7 million in 2007 to 98.5 million by 2012. Total revenue is projected to grow to $11.8 billion by 2013.Then VAS industry revenue should, therefore, grow to $236m, that is two per cent of total revenues in line with other developing countries.
We also want to expand into six new countries to reach an additional 30 million subscribers over the next 24 months.

Source:Daily Sun

 

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