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‘Door-to-door sales help Movitel win Mozambican mobile subscribers’

Door-to-door sales help Movitel win Mozambican mobile subscribers.

Mozambican mobile network Movitel says door-to-door sales have helped it secure “80%” market share in the southern African country’s rural areas.

Movitel, a joint venture between the Vietnamese military owned telecoms organisation Viettel Group and Mozambique’s SPI, launched operations in May 2012 to rival Vodacom and mCel in the country.

And according to an official Vietnamese military report released last week, Movitel has focused on its rural supply chain by rolling out 153 shops, 12,600 agents and points of sales, and nearly 4,000 direct sales staff in the country’s rural villages.

Previously, Movitel has stated that its supply chain covers 85% of Mozambique’s rural population and more than 70% of the whole country’s population.

Mozambique is among Africa’s top untapped mobile markets. Research firm BuddeComm has previously forecast that the country had a 49% mobile penetration rate at the end of 2013 among its 25 million population. Meanwhile, Frost & Sullivan says Mozambique had 12.01 million mobile subscribers at the end of 2013.

“In order to take care of customers in the case of scattered and low-density population like in Mozambique, Movitel applies a door-to-door model,” reads the Vietnamese military report.

“This unique way not only helps Movitel spread out its services quickly but also gaining strong support from the local people thanks to the jobs and services Movitel brings to them. As a result of this, it is currently dominating the rural areas with more than 80% of market share,” notes the report.

Researchers have yet to confirm Movitel’s 80% rural market share claim.

But Frost & Sullivan reported in November 2013 that “within one year of commencing commercial operations in Mozambique, Movitel was able to garner two million subscribers, which translates to 20% of the market share.”

Earlier this year, Frost & Sullivan also said, "In Mozambique, the entrance of a third mobile operator, Movitel, is spurring the market by targeting rural areas and low-income groups with lower prices than its competitors."

Statistics provided by Frost & Sullivan to ITWeb Africa on Mozambique’s mobile market indicate that at the end of 2013, mCel had a dominant 44% market share with 5.3 million subscribers, Vodacom had a 34.3% market share with 4.12 million subscribers and Movitel had a 21.6% market share with 2.59 million subscribers.

Vodacom representatives have also told ITWeb Africa that as of June 2014, Vodacom Mozambique had 4.6 million active customers.

Movitel; though, has been experiencing the fastest year-on-year mobile subscriber growth rate of 92% in Mozambique from December 2012 to December 2013, as the operator grew from 1.35 million users to 2.59 million according to Frost & Sullivan.

Vodacom during the same period grew 44% from 2.861 million users in 2012 to 4.12 million in 2013 while mCel grew 3.5% from 5.12 million users in 2012 to 5.3 million in 2013, says Frost & Sullivan figures.

Vietnam’s military has gone on to claim other ways in which Movitel is seeking to expand its subscriber base.

The military’s report says Movitel Mozambique has built 2,800 towers, and a 25,000km fibre optic network.

Vietnam’s military also says Movitel has provided internet to 2,500 schools in Mozambique.

“After two years, Movitel’s initiative has helped increase the telecommunications coverage in Mozambique from 60% to 85% nationwide and from 35% to 70% (of the) population,” reads the report.

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