[Startup Interview] Lwazi Nongauza, Executive Director, BTN Mobile, South Africa
BTN Mobile is a South African digital telecommunications network that seeks to revolutionize the telecommunications landscape in the country and beyond while bridging the digital divide by making ICT services available to the underserved at a reasonable rate.
Lwazi Nongauza the Executive Director spoke to Africa Business Communities about the company’s business model and plans to upscale it to the rest of Africa.
Introduce BTN Mobile and your role in it
I am BTN Mobile executive Director responsible for business strategic development and public relations.
BTN Mobile is a 100 per cent black-owned licensed digital telecommunications network providing a range of leading edge unified communications services. The trilateral portfolio business with strong focus in free wireless services and affordable mobile and voice calls services. The Greydot Mobile powered conglomorate is led by four seasoned entrepreneursThabo Nkhasi, Loago Ratitedu, Friedman Mbhalete and myself.
Why was the company created, and to what extent is it achieving its purpose?
BTN Mobile was created to provide superior quality and cost effective telecommunications services to working class, the marginalised and young people in the African continent.
The directors of the company are happy to report that the seven months old business has already achieved most of its primary short term telecommunications market share penetration, economic and social contribution targets.
Who are your clients?
Our client base is made up individuals from lower to middle Living Standrd Measure (LSM) young professionals, students, senior citizens, unemployed youth and small medium enterprises.
What do you consider your greatest selling points?
We believe we are among the most reliable, innovative and efficient telecimmunications company in Africa. According to dozens of economists, fintech experts and business policy makers BTN Mobile’s entry into telecommunications industry has revolutionized inclusive economic participation and social cohesion while bridging the digital divide.
How has the market responded to your services?
The market has responded very well in our services. We have managed to achieve our 12 months goals in less than four months. The market feedback and strategic partnerships have also been key in spreading our services into the rest of Africa way faster than we imagined.
Since our launch we continue to enjoy support from governments and the investor appetite has also been on the rise.
What are the biggest threats to BTN Mobile?
BTN Mobile has a fairly strong overall business strategy. Our biggest threat can only be limited financial resources for expansion into other countries.
One of your flagship innovations is an app that seeks to save subscribers data and airtime cost. Tell us more about this and the latest update on its uptake?
BTN Mobile App is one our flagship innovations that has done extremely well in Southern Africa. Our Mobile App users do not need to port their numbers. Users of our App can call to any network from as low as 35cents[Rand] a minute. Our minutes don’t expire. BTN Mobile App users can make international calls at a cheaper cost.
Our corporate packages include free BTN Mobile landline phones installation with no physical limitations. Our landline phones allow users to make free calls between the BTN Mobile users. BTN Mobile Corporate subscribers can use up to 1000 minutes every month. Corporate companies who have an existing landline can port into BTN Mobile platform for free.
What kind of collaborations do you expect and need for BTN Mobile to succeed?
At BTN Mobile we strongly believe in the power of progressive strategic collaborations. We have recently partnered with South African cellphone manufacturing company called Mara, two internet supplier companies from South Africa and Botswana.
What can you say about the targets, plans and ambitions of the company for 2019?
BTN Mobile’s plans for this year is to fully operate in at least 23 African countries, increase our reveneue througout the continent and contribute into all areas that we serve in the African continent.
Any new developments from your company?
Yes, there are couple of developments but we wll officially announce them once we sign all documentation. All the new developments are in line with our immediate expansion strategy to East and West Africa.
We are also concluding partnership negotiations with a multinational ISP which will see BTN Mobile champion the 4IR revolution in Africa. Through this partnership we will be able to provide free internent services to millions of people througout Africa.
Who should contact you and why?
As the fastest growing business with increasing demand we are forever looking for patriotic African telecommunications entreprenuers, airtime retailers, African governments officials, telecom industry players and investors to contact us for potential business collaboration or partnerships.
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