Big shake-up at Nashua Mobile
Newly appointed CEO plans an aggressive focus on building its prepaid base and improving customer service. By Duncan McLeod.
Nashua Mobile, the cellular service provider in the JSE-listed Reunert group, wants to grow its prepaid customer base substantially and, in his first media interview since taking the reins on 1 October, newly appointed CEO Mark Taylor has hinted at other big changes for the company.
Taylor, who was head of Nashua Mobile until four years ago when he left for Vodacom, has already restructured the company into consumer and enterprise (business) segments and mapped out plans to grow both areas.
On the consumer side, Taylor wants Nashua Mobile to play a much bigger role in retail. Last week, the company signed a partnership agreement with Look & Listen in terms of which the music and electronics retailer will sell the service provider’s products in its stores. “Look & Listen sells more than 200 tablets a month,” Taylor says. “Its business is going much more into the digital space.”
At the same time, the company will place a big focus on its digital channels, developing Web and mobile self-service products as well as smartphone applications that allow customers to serve themselves electronically. It will also offer digital options in its retail stores from next year, with a concept store in place by January. “In the next five years, we’d like 80% of our transactions and our customer base to be through self-servicing in the digital space,” Taylor says.
The move will require a “massive” retooling of Nashua Mobile’s IT systems and, as a result, the process will be incremental, he says. “By April, we will have our first release [of the new system].”
Among other things, the system will allow customers to compare their tariff plans with their cellular spend to determine whether they are on the right package.
In the prepaid market, Nashua Mobile has only 24 000 customers out of its total base of about 950 000. Taylor says he can’t go into detail about the company’s plans to grow the prepaid base but hints at plans to sign up channel partners to assist it in this regard.
The company is not interested in the mass prepaid market, he adds, only the higher-spending component of the prepaid segment.
In the business market, Taylor believes there is a big opportunity to cross-sell solutions with sister company Nashua Communications, particularly in the small and medium enterprise market. “We haven’t worked closely enough together and this creates a bigger opportunity,” he says.
In addition, he believes there is still a big market in least-cost routing (LCR), despite the sharp reductions in mobile interconnection rates in recent years. LCR players have traditionally taken advantage of arbitrage opportunities because of the high rates the mobile operators charged each other to carry calls between their networks. Recent aggressive price reductions by Cell C have breathed new life into the LCR business, Taylor says.
“With interconnect where it is, there is still an opportunity to create LCR products and tariffs,” he says. “The LCR business is swinging to Cell C.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media