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Is K2 Telecom on Life Support? Why the Telecom May Soon Close Shop.

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K2 telecom

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By Moses Kaketo

Think about it, if you were given Ugx 10 billion today, what would you do with it? Become a multi-millionaire in a matter of time? Well, you could fail as well.

The launch of K2 telecom promised a new era. Being attached to the Buganda Kingdom, with over eight (8) million Baganda, there was no reason for failing to penetrate the market instantly.

To break-even, a telecom in Uganda needs just one million active users on voice. K2 telecom’s customer acquisition target was just that. A feat that was easy to attain within just the first year.

The telecom was launched on 31st December 2012 by Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi at the Kingdom’s annual end of the year event-Enkuka. In attendance were thousands of loyal Buganda Kingdom subjects, friends and well-wishers. It was a perfect moment and a huge endorsement boost to the new telecom by the Kingdom.

Three years later, the network is slowly disappearing. The network’s silence is too loud for folks that follow the telecom industry keenly.

K2 operates as Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO). It depends on other networks to deliver telecom services. This kind of license or business model significantly constrains the operator, as they have to cede a huge chunk of their revenues to the partnering telecom. It is like an insurance company paying over 80% of their collected premiums to a re-insure.

Independent information indicates that K2 telecom is struggling due to cash flow challenges. Market reports show the company has just 200,000 customers, which is below the one million needed to break-even in this highly competitive market. The company’s woes stem from Airtel’s concerted efforts to create partnerships with the Buganda Kingdom; which has seen the company associate more with the Kingdom than K2. Thanks to more value addition by Airtel compared to K2, the latter has not registered many subscribers as anticipated.

Even then, K2’s 200,000 subscribers are not all active. Over 100,000 – that is a 50% of all subscribers, are said to be dormant – have not made calls in the last 90 days. This, coupled with higher churn rates, makes the business difficult. All efforts to recover clients using consistent on the powerful kingdom radio CBS 88.8 have been futile. The challenge has been that most distributors and retailers are not restocking K2 products, as they are not fast moving, which means low returns for the distributors.

With slow business for K2 products and services, many of the agents the network had recruited have closed shop, as they do not have sufficient monthly revenues to meet rentals and other running costs. The few that our reporter talked too, disclosed were in the process of closing shop, unless K2 is able to support them so as to remain open – something that is unlikely to happen considering such a model does not exist in telecom distribution, and K2 is also financially squeezed.

During market research for this article, we visited a number of towns within Buganda. Unfortunately, in this region where the network’s focus would be, neither agents nor products were visible. Findings from the field reveal that K2 distribution sales points in Kireka, Luwero, Wobulenzi, Bweyogerere, Mukono, and Mityana have since closed down.

In Masaka, while K2 telecom shop remains open, ‘‘business is too slow’’, according to a shop attendant who preferred to remain anonymous. On the other hand, MTN and Airtel shops next to the K2 outlet where very busy throughout the time of the visit.

Dead social media

Despite having 9,832 Facebook likes, the network’s page was last updated on 2nd February 2015. Enquires from existing and potential customers have been ignored. On December 27th 2014 Jafia Shacool, K2 customer posted on network’s Page: ‘‘Why don’t you have customer care on your page?”. It is nine months later; his complaint still remains unattended to.

How K2 lost it

Largely, a 21st century phenomenon, MVNO’s have taken over the market especially in developed world. In some European countries, MVNO’s control between 10 and 40 percent of the market.

According to analysts, K2 had all it takes to survive and command reasonable market share in Uganda. But lack of clear strategy and understanding of how MVNO’s operates is failing the network. Based on extensive market research and experience working on a variety of MVNO, experts identify key success factors for MVNO’s which K2 could have missed. Successful MVNO’s often survive by identifying a niche market, use conventional business model to attract this market.

With an estimated nine million Baganda, by employing a clear set of aggressive segment marketing strategy and specific distribution tactics, K2 was destined for better future. If they had focused on tapping into this customer segment, by offering customized solutions, like Kingdom ringtones, and special culture education, it could have done some magic.

The same model could have been rolled to Bunyoro and Tooro, and the results could have been tremendous. Such a niche is so loyal.

Industry experts say, if K2 had clear strategy for the launch, everyone who attended the Enkuka –these are loyal Baganda, would have been given free Sim card or even better subsidized cheaper phones.

In just one day, the network would have had at least 100,000 people on her network. That would have been a great start. This was missed opportunity.

Operational excellence

According to research, 75 to 85 percent of MVNO cost structures involve variable charges like wholesale airtime costs and customer acquisitions expenses. Successful MVNO, need to minimize customer acquisition and retention costs. K2 got this wrong from day one.

To portray corporate image, K2 chose an upscale office on Clement Hill next to MTN and former Warid head offices. This pushed their fixed costs budget up to the roof.

Why didn’t they locate their head offices within Bulange?

They got to learn of this late and shifted to Katwe, Muganziwanza building, which is owned by the Buganda Kingdom.

Successful MVNO’s occasionally depend on their existing customers to take on certain aspects of their operators such as sales, customer service and marketing.

This in effect cuts down on costs. K2 chose to use same methods like other teleco’s. In return, these ‘agents’ or network’s users receive a remuneration in form of commission.

For example, one of the MVNO in the United Kingdom is estimated to have paid UK 3 million pounds to its customers for job well done. Therefore, company needed only 28 full time employees.

According to industry analysts, it’s not too late for K2. They can rebrand and re-launch at this year’s Enkuka.

About the author:

Moses Kaketo works with Summit Business Review Magazine, holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Uganda Management Institute, A professional diploma in marketing (CIM) and bachelor’s degree in Education. He sees business in everything. He loves writing business news, reviews and analyses.

Twitter: @mkaketo

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TECNO CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO launched at special Christmas Price

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By Staff Writer

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Christmas is around the corner and so are all the juicy deals from top brands in Uganda. Today, TECNO Mobile Uganda has launched two new smart smartphones called the CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO at a special Christmas price. The new phones have been described as the drivers for the future of selfies by some thanks to the ability to take bright and clear selfies with high quality powered by the new AI Technology.

The CAMON 11 duo exploits improved AI technology for selfie photography among many more AI- powered operational features like AI Bokeh effect, AI HDR, and AI automatic scene detection. Together with the super Notch Screen of 6.2inches and upgraded multi-tasking software, CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO offers consumers a better user experience.

Artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms in-built in the CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO is capable of doing a lot more than what previously seemed to be impossible by smartphones.

The revolutionary AI technology embedded in the CAMON 11 PRO and CAMON 11’s camera elevates the smartphone selfie experience.

For the Selfie-lovers, the high-end 24 or 16-megapixel front camera gives a whole new dimension of selfie experience. AI-technology smartly allows customers to create high-quality self-portraits with natural skin colour by optimizing the image, thereby achieving brighter colours and sharp contours.

The new CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO does not pride only in the new AI technology but also showcases its ability to give customers an impeccable experience right from the slick beautiful diamond fire design to the space and many more fantastic specs.

The new phones comes sealed fully accessorized with new headsets, charger, tempered glass, (screen guard) and pin.

CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO have been favourably priced to not only enable customers access it but it’s also time for giving and celebration, therefore the price is to give customers a reason to celebrate their festivities in style with a new super smart gadget. The new phones will be at a Recommended Retail Price of CAMON 11 UGX 578,000 and CAMON 11 PRO UGX 899,000.

The new CAMON 11 and Camon 11 PRO will be available country wide in all TECNO exclusive shops starting today 10th December 2018.

Below are the some of the spectacular features of to look out for;

AI Technology Captures More Beauty of You
New AI technology advances include more accurate facial recognition capability. CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO cameras are able to improve self-portraits with the help of AI Beauty by recognizing up to 240points on the face of the subject, delivering better beautification effects no matter the gender or age, and enabling self-learning capabilities based on user preferences, plus other added fun features. It also supports Face Unlock option and is equipped with its own powerful AI adjustable front LED flashlights, which allows to get beautiful and realistic photos with a certain flash level customized for you.

Taking selfies has never been better, thanks to the advanced 16 MP front camera for the CAMON 11 and 24 MP for the CAMON 11 PRO. These front cameras have the widest dynamic range due to the AI feature in HDR mode, guaranteeing perfect shots in any light. In low light conditions, the camera takes several pictures at once, combining them into one clear shot, which guarantees accurate detail processing and eliminates the problem of image blur. AI is also able to automatically recognize scenes and adapt to shooting conditions, as well as select the optimal parameters for a wide variety of shooting modes from sports to portrait.

The dual camera is designed for impressive shots to gain popularity in social networks. Night shooting mode is also based on AI-technology and provides high detail photos, even in conditions of limited lighting.

The storage- 6GBRAM + 64GB ROM
Set the pace with the new CAMON 11 PRO, powered by a ground-breaking 6GB RAM and 2.0 GHz Octa-Core processor, taking your “speed” to the next level. Feel free to watch your favourite videos, download content, play games, and with the help of machine learning technology, CAMON 11 and CAMON 11 PRO are able to accelerate the game and put the phone into anti-disturb mode for users, which will bring a more immersive gaming experience.

More Fun with Animoji

Animoji combines human expressions with 3D virtual expressions through Augmented Reality (AR) technologies and creates dynamic cartoon images in keyboard, which is embedded in the typewriting and allows for usage in all major instant messengers and social networks – Facebook Messenger, Twitter, Google+, Hangouts, WhatsApp, Telegram, Skype, etc. Animated emoji reads facial movements and recreates them, making chatting with friends so much more fun!

Advanced HiOS Software – Favorite Apps at Your Fingertips
The HiOS software is intelligent enough to recognize your favourite apps and have them open in just 0.3s through your different fingerprints. One can set up “Google + Facebook + YouTube” to open using your forefinger print or access “Instagram + Google Map + Snapchat“via your mid-finger print, all at your personalized convenience.

Call Recording by Fingerprint

Conversations embody our relationships, fuel career growth, offer evidence for justice, and more. From helping us keep alive the memory of loved ones, to keeping records of legal discussions, conducting interviews or even making customer service calls, the CAMON 11 or CAMON 11 PRO makes recording calls a breeze. By just a simple tap of the fingerprint scanner, the call will be recorded immediately.

Follow @TECNOMobileUganda on Facebook for more information.

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Buganda Kingdom products to begin selling on Jumia

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Jumia and Majestic Brands Limited, Buganda Kingdom’s official investment arm, have announced a new partnership where all kingdom merchandise will be readily available on Jumia.

The Buganda Kingdom product assortment on Jumia includes, portraits of His Majesty – the King, Maama Nnaabegereka , marriage certificates, totems and memorabilia. All sales revenue will go to support the kingdom development projects.

The partnership was announced at a press event in Bulange, Mengo, and attended by Owek. Charles Peter Mayiga, the Katikkiro of Buganda, Majestic Brands CEO Mr Ronald Kawaddwa, and Jumia CEO Ron Kawamara.

“The Buganda cultural and brand products are highly appreciated by millions of consumers globally. Today we are pleased to offer a new distribution channel for our customers to own the symbols and memorabilia that make up the norms and culture of this great kingdom”, Jumia CEO, Ron Kawamara said.

Mr Ronald Kawaddwa, Majestic Brands CEO said, “ We hereby request our people to conveniently make use of this platform to get these products.”

The eCommerce space in Uganda is on the rise, with Jumia receiving an average of 500,000 visitors per month, a 120% increase from last year.

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Immersion Uganda Sets Dates For Midnight Party Bus

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By Demo Reily

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Immersion Uganda’s midnight party bus experience to Entebbe will officially set the tone for the party month of December. The party bus experience which is basically a tour bus fitted with lighting and sound, dancing, glow sticks, lots of alcohol and pizza, will be happening on Saturday, 22nd of December.

The fun is not just in the journey but the destination. The tour will involve hopping from bar to bar in Entebbe’s renowned joints like Riders, Street Club and De’Bar included on the itinerary. There will also be music mixes by DJ Chapat on the bus.

Partiers will be welcomed with shots on arrival at the bus included on the ticket price and guaranteed free and secure parking dedicated for all partiers at Hotel Africana, where the departure is slated at 6-7pm.

The bus will then return to Kampala with all the music, raving and drinks, pizza and bar hopping where Uber and designated driver rides will be available at the arrival.

ABOUT IMMERSION UGANDA

The ImmersionUG city tours agency is a brain child of Arthur Mwanje who has put a distinctly Kampala city in touch to epic tour offerings. Their best known tours are the ‘Kampala-On-Foot’ free city walking tour, the ‘Kampala-After-Dark’ tour rated by trip advisor as Kampala’s number one nightlife attraction, and their ‘SavourUganda’ food tasting tour.

They intend to provide a great way to get a first and engaging introduction to the city and spirit of it’s people, for visitors. The agency is run by passionate young locals, and are conducted in a fun, quirky and casual way. They allow guests to have an unusually intimate experience of Kampala and surrounding towns. More recently immersionug now arranges monthly events tailored towards locals and the Night Party Bus is a prominent example.

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