Smart Telecom has become the 7th player to join Uganda’s competitive telecom sector after having bought off Sure Telecom’s operations in Uganda as well as established in Tanzania and Burundi in a US$ 300 million investment.
The telecom which is owned by the Aga Khan Group under the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) launches months after an online campaign that aimed at getting the public to pick a name for the company in what they termed as an innovative customer focused idea.
Addressing the media at the launch event held at the company offices in Kampala on March 17, 2014, the Group CEO Abdellatif Bouziani said, “The Aga Khan Group has been committed to East Africa for over 100 years and our uniqueness in this new venture lies in involving the people in a bid to create a business with and for the people.”
” This in itself is an innovation as nobody has dared to start a company without a name before yet we dared to. We shortlisted 7 names out of 70,000 submissions that had been suggested by East Africans asked them what they would expect in terms of service provision and then aligned our business to their suggestions.”
Smart Telecom comes into the market with a unique offer charging voice calls at Ushs 74 per call unlike the conventional per minute billing in what is seen as a marketing strategy to popularize the brand.
“Our business model is based on getting enough people to use our unique products and services and be able to get returns based on margins. I believe this investment was well calculated and will bring back returns after we build a customer base,” added Abdellatif Bouziani.
Currently the telecom has licenses across its 3 markets offering 2G and 3G technology to enhance provision of both voice and data services with high speeds. They are also in the process of rolling out office, home as well as mobile broadband with innovative products and services for all categories of businesses and social life.
AKFED investments which are in line with those of its mother company the Aga Khan Group aim at community investment in a bid to impact the lives of their customers. In Afghanistan where AKFED runs Roshan Telecom, the company has managed to invest heavily in infrastructure to make services available for the public.
“Community investment is central to building a successful business. By the time we got into Afghanistan in 2003 people had to queue for long and wait months to get a sim card. Currently we have made data and voice services accessible in all parts of a post war country. We are coming to Africa at the age of technology which means we are not starting from scratch instead we are taking the latest available technology and offering it at an affordable price easy to use for all the customers,” Bouzani explained.
This investment adds to the AKFED’s portfolio cutting across banking, insurance, health, media and hospitality industries. Smart telecom will operate on the 074 code.
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