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Daily Nation : February 18th 2014
12 smart business technology Tuesday February 18, 2014 DAILY NATION PLANNING» FRESH DATA RAISES QUESTIONS ON THE EFFICACY OF A GOVERNMENT PLAN TO ROLL OUT 4G PLATFORM Cheap phones dominate Kenya market despite rapid uptake Last year, there were 6.5m subscriptions on the 3G platform against 25.7m subscriptions running on the less expensive 2G platform, shows survey A BY MUTHOKI MUMO firstname.lastname@example.org bout 20.1 per cent of the local mobile phones run on 3G technology, a pointer to the continued use of cheap handsets in Kenya telephony market. In a statistical brief seen by SmartCompany, market research firm, Business Monitor International (BMI), estimates that there were 6.5 million subscriptions on the 3G platform in Kenya against 25.7 million subscriptions on the 2G platform. 2G and 3G refer to cellular network technology. 3G, or third generation technology, gives users access to faster data speeds than 2G, a second generation technology. To access services on the 3G platform, us- ers have to buy 3G-enabled handsets which are quite often more expensive than 2G-enabled phones. BMI’s findings reflect assertions by industry commentators indicating that despite rapid growth, the Kenyan market is yet to graduate to more expensive gadgets. “Less than half of mobile broadband is used for smartphones, the rest is used on other mobile devices,” noted audit firm Deloitte. Last year, BMI estimates that about 6.53 mil- LESS THAN HALF OF MOBILE BROADBAND IS USED FOR SMARTPHONES, THE REST IS USED ON OTHER MOBILE DEVICES,” Deloitte lion handsets were shipped to Kenya, 4.5 per cent more than the number of mobile phones imported into the country in 2012. Although BMI does not break the data down by model, smartphones made up about 16.7 per cent of total mobile handset shipments to Africa. It is likely that the trend was replicated in Kenya. Despite the current performance, the BMI data shows that growth in the adoption of 3G technology is faster than its predecessor 2G. Between 2012 and 2013, the number of 3G subscriptions grew by 33 per cent in comparison to 0.84 per cent decline in 2G subscriptions. However, according to BMI forecasts, 3G subscriptions will not overtake 2G subscriptions within the next four years despite the robust growth rates. These data raises questions CUSTOMER CARE » LUCY KIRUTHU Do you want a lasting business? Build it on friendship HOW FRIENDLY is your business? Friendliness is the quality of being friendly. Synonyms such as cordial, jovial, good-natured, kind, approachable, affectionate, amiable, easy-going, open, warm and many others are used to describe this quality. The quality is not only visible in in- dividuals but also in groups of people as well as in entire organisations. Friendliness is seen by many as a very important quality in customer satisfaction and loyalty. It is often associated with other qualities such as courtesy, accessible and being helpful. It is indeed an important quality that smart companies and all forwardlooking businesses need to adopt across the entire organisation. There is a very friendly fruits vendor in my neighbourhood. She is very welcoming, respectful and thankful. She makes me feel valuable and I have consistently opted to buy fruits from her stall. Is this is our everyday story? I doubt, sometimes we walk into a business and feel unwanted as staff chit-chat with each other as we wait. On other days we telephone some organisation and are made to feel that our call is not all that important. We are kept on hold or are prom- ised a call-back or an email reply but we are forced to call again to lodge a follow up. In other instances, I have seen customers and frontline staff get into an argument for no good reason. When those that we interact with do not display this quality, it becomes difficult to do business with them. As a result, we feel that many businesses are cold, detached, aloof or disinterested in their customers. There is no doubt that some or- ganisations display an element of unfriendliness and quite often, negativity towards their customers. A gentleman by the name Allan King once asked: “If the banks are so friendly, how come they chain down their pens?” My simple answer would be “so that they do not fall off.” Friendliness is a basic human need. When we visit our friend’s house, it is unlikely that they will ignore us or start locking the drawers. In a business environment, friendli- ness is a basic customer need, too. Customers like to feel welcome and treated with respect. The feeling that a business is a friendly one is a sum total of the daily interactions with staff at all levels and in all areas of an organisation. Important quality Based on Ask.com’s polls of 2,000 users, 48 per cent said that friendliness was the most important quality in customer service followed by knowledgeable at 41 per cent. How friendly is your business? Everyday thousands of business relationships are started, built and cemented or broken. At the core of solid business relationships are business people who consider their customers their friend. Alfred Montapert well known for his book The Supreme Philosophy of Man: The Laws of Life sums, friendliness in business in a few words is “all lasting business is built on friendship”. Every day we have an opportunity as hosts to be friendly to our customers and to make them feel wanted. It starts with having the right attitude towards our customers and taking action to make our customers feel good about being our customers. Lucy Kiruthu is a management consultant and can be reached on email@example.com or via twitter @kiruthulucy Information and Communication principal secretary Joseph Tiampati says a task force formed to study modalities of rolling out the 4G platform will present its report by February 28. FILE I NATION about the efficacy of a government plan to roll out 4G technology. The Ministry of Information has established a taskforce to study modalities of rolling out a 4G network once the spectrum is available following Kenya’s planned digital migration. In an interview last week, Information principal secretary Joseph Tiampati, told SmartCompany that the team is expected to provide a final report by February 28. “They have done a draft which we are look- ing at. We are comparing notes and subjecting it to further discussions. We hope that we shall finalise by the end of this month,” said Mr Tiampati. The concern has been whether Kenyans will take up 4G technology given the lukewarm performance of the 3G platform. In Kenya, all mobile service providers except yuMobile run 3G networks. yuMobile was recently granted a licence by the Communications Commission of Kenya to test-run 3G platform for a year. Its rival, Safaricom, has also indicated it plans to expand its 3G network beyond the metropolitan areas where it is concentrated. In the broadband strategy, Kenya targets to give 35 per cent of all households and 100 per cent of schools access to high speed Internet by 2017. To achieve this, technologies that give access to broadband such as fibre optic cables, 3G and 4G networks will have to be tapped. As more Kenyans continue to adopt technol- ogy, BMI predicts strong growth in personal computer, software, hardware and technology services. In 2013, the firm reports, this market was worth about Sh64.4 billion up from Sh52.72 billion in 2012. By 2018, the market will be worth Sh150.84 billion. The growing market has drawn the attention of tech giants many of whom have set up operations locally. However, the industry has faced various challenges. The introduction of a 16 per cent value added tax on goods and services last year has hurt the business. Besides, software vendors in Kenya have to grapple with counterfeits. Predictions for growth in local PC sales are in sharp contrast to global trends where desktop and laptop computer trade is on the decline. Deloitte data indicates that global PC sales started declining in 2008 and will contract for the next four years. In contrast, smartphone and tablet sales are on the rise globally. This year, Deloitte predicts that tablets with screens smaller than 8.5 inches will continue to record sharp growth even as sales of larger tablets remain largely flat. SMS will continue to be a key revenue source for mobile service providers but mobile instant message (MIM) apps such as WhatsApp pose a challenge. SMS will generate about Sh8.6 trillion ($100 billion) against the Sh172.6 billion ($2 billion) that MIM will create. On average, 50 billion messages will be send via MIM per day globally against the 21 billion texts sent via SMS. Demand for wearable technologies such as Google Glass, fitness bands and smart watches are also expected to rise in 2014. BANKING ABC Bank to pay traders 80pc of invoice amount ABC Bank has launched an invoice financing product to ease cash flow to traders as they wait for payments for goods or services supplied to customers. The ABC Bank invoice discounting plan allows entrepreneurs to get 80 per cent of their invoice amount within 48 hours after their applications are received by the lender. The move is music to ears of the youth who are set to benefit from 30 per cent of all government contracts. The Parliament is coming up with an enabling legislation to ensure this is realised. Reputable buyers “The solution targets small and medium traders, manufacturers and service companies who have trade transactions with reputable buyers,” says the bank in a statement sent to media houses. “It is also available to sup- pliers of major mid-sized companies who are already running accounts with ABC Bank, and government suppliers as well.” The bank recently launched a free international money transfer service in partnership Al Dahab Exchange expanding its money transfer services network. The bank is also tapping into technology and social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to reach out to more Kenyans in an effort to encourage a saving culture in the country.
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