MTN Business Namibia has launched its Partner Programme, an initiative that will enable local and global ICT service providers to become part of the telecommunications company’s products and solutions offering.
The programme, which is already operational in other markets, will allow selected companies to leverage on the group’s expertise, while it rides on their know-how of the local market to fill any capacity or expertise gap currently existing in the business and complement what is already there.
This comes barely a month after Profile Investment Holdings acquired a 30 percent stake in MTN Business Namibia, a local arm of the MTN Group which operates in 24 countries.
MTN Business Namibia Manager: Sales, Business Development and Partnerships, Keith Handura, said the partnership programme has been designed with the customer in mind.
“All the partners that we are targeting have their core competencies and we have ours, and the whole idea with partnerships, is about us trying to marry the two. At the core of this, is the end customer. We want to add more value to the customer. The customer is at the heart of everything that we do,” he said.
“A partnership is better for us because we are not trying to reinvent the wheel, but partner with existing Namibian businesses already operating in these sectors. We are going into these partnerships with the best intentions. Partnerships allow us to increase our sales and service footprint quickly.”
MTN Business Namibia, which is focused on the business-to-business segment, is targeting channel, technology, and capability partners, with the South African headquartered MTN Group playing a strategic role.
“In the Namibian context, it’s very clear MTN Namibia has been a B2B player and continued to provide value added services to customers, but for us to take the leap into the future, there was no other way, but to link up with key strategic partners locally to enhance our customer experience and our capabilities,” said Ralph Vraagom General Manager for Partnerships for MTN Group.
“When we talk about partnerships we’re trying to find compatible organizations that complement our capabilities so that we can provide the customer with quality services that are customer oriented. We can’t be everything to everyone, but if we join with with the right partner, 1+1 can equal 3.
“We aim to take the best of those companies, the best of MTN and provide our customers with something better. I think there are a lot of complete products on the market, but if you take the best of product A and the best of product B and you put it together, you get best of class for a particular product.”
For a channel partner, MTN Business Namibia is targeting businesses that have an existing local distribution footprint.
“The channel partner is a partner that will help us sell our products in the market because they have capabilities we do not have. They have a footprint we don’t have, they have got people on the ground with a really large bouquet of services that I believe the MTN services can only add value to and allow our customers to reach our products easily,” Vraagom said.
With a technology partner, MTN Business Namibia is looking to partner with innovative ICT companies, which have a unique offering to the market.
“This is the partner that has designed or created something from a technological perspective that’s truly different from what’s out there today. There’s a lot of technology out there that can be used and brought in to service customers better.”
Capability partners will allow MTN Namibia to deliver its product and services better to the local market.
“When you talk about capability, it can be a wide range of things, even the guy that does the printing in an office that does it better than us, we will go learn, so it’s a specific capability, but it’s not technology,” Vraagom said.
MTN Namibia believes that the partnerships will enhance value of its service offering, which will be offered at competitive prices on the market.
“It’s the way we do our partnerships. For one to go on their own, they will require more resources and investment, but if you going in with a partner, they have already made their investment, which we have done on the connectivity side, thus we both come in at an entry point where we are both comfortable, with the right margins, which still makes the end user comfortable to take up the service,” Handura said.
Vraagom added that each of the partners will have differentiating factors and each of them would be selected based on those factors.
He also said that it just doesn’t make sense for MTN Namibia to invest in technology and infrastructure on its own.
“We have seen in other countries how that potentially kills markets as the market price stays high because everybody had to build their infrastructure themselves.
“As an example, infrastructure based competition in SA talks about multiple fibre operators building their products in exactly the same locations because they don’t want to work together.
“Now everybody has got the capital outlay and they are running to get the customers, but there is a lot of wasted money and we don’t want to see that happening in Namibia, especially under the umbrella of the Infrastructure Sharing Act promulgated recently.”
Handura added that the partnership programme demonstrates the company’s commitment to the Namibian market and is also a form of local empowerment.
“If we want to do everything ourselves, how do we give the public the perception that we are here for the Namibian market? How do we show that whatever we bring in into the market is right for the people? The partners that we are targeting have been here and established themselves for a number of years so they also understand the market from a different dynamic and perspective that we don’t have, so they can add or compliment what we are trying to push to the market,” Handura said.
“We have wonderful offerings that we have rolled out in other operations, but there is no guarantee that they are going to work on the Namibian market, so we need those partners who can say, ‘that is not going to work in the Namibian context, let’s change it to this or let’s not even think of bringing that to the market and focus on fishing where the fish are.
“Namibia is a very important market for us. The sooner we get these partnerships up and running, the sooner our customers will start enjoying the benefits,” Vraagom said.