In 2013, Tranglo and Etisalat provided a long awaited solution to a challenge felt by its over *7.2 million active mobile users, with its highest internet usage being on mobile. The cooperation expanded Etisalat’s network to more than 170 mobile network operators (MNO) in over 70 countries. The International Credit Transfer deepened connectivity and broadened possibilities.
“The International Credit Transfer is designed understanding the growing need of the expat community of gifting airtime to their loved ones back home or recharging their own prepaid account while roaming in UAE. It was essential to offer value to the recipient and the sender guaranteeing security and privacy of the transaction.”
Khaled El Khouly, Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), Etisalat
Etisalat is the Middle East’s leading telecommunications operator and one of the largest corporations in the six Arab countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council, with a market value of approximately Dh81 billion (US$22 billion) and annual revenues of over Dh32.9 billion (US$9 billion).
How Does It Work
Subscribers can access International Credit Transfer by sending an SMS to 1700 with the recipient’s mobile phone number. Users immediately receive a message with instructions to complete the transaction. This is followed by a reply from the recipient’s operator detailing the various denominations available to be transferred to the mobile number.
Etisalat Wasel/Ahlan subscribers can conduct up to 10 transactions a month (3 a week) to any prepaid mobile account in the world. Users can transfer a maximum credit of Dh300 per transaction (Dh500 in a month). Tranglo also provides similar services to Etisalat in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Egypt, Afghanistan and Indonesia.
The Big Picture
Prepaid subscribers are mobile phone users who buy credit for their phones in advance on an ad hoc basis, as opposed to customers on a monthly contract with an MNO. Due to lower income levels, many customers not having bank accounts and customers with little or no credit history, prepaid contracts are a prominent feature of developing markets.
The chart below shows the percentage of prepaid subscribers for different regions. As an example of the wide variance, prepaid contracts make up 26% of US and 41% of UK subscriptions compared to 97% in Kenya and Nigeria and 99% in Indonesia (source: GSMA).
Exhibit 1: Percentage of subscribers with prepaid contracts
Source: The Mobile Economy 2013 – AT Kearney & GSMA Wireless Intelligence
*The crucial difference between prepaid and contract subscribers is the way that the MNO is paid for airtime/data. In developed markets prepaid subscribers tend to phone up, use an ATM or use an app to buy airtime credit – this is possible as subscribers tend to have bank accounts to which they can link, either via direct debit or by charging a debit or credit card. In some cases, subscribers may choose to go to a shop that offers this service and pay in cash. In developing markets, for the majority of users, the cash route is the only option. This means that the MNO needs a network of agents across the country that can take cash in return for issuing some kind of airtime credit – either a paper voucher in the form of a scratch card, or an electronic voucher (typically an SMS with a code that the subscriber enters into the phone). In either case, there is a network of agents that needs to be managed and vouchers for airtime that need to be created and tracked. Tranglo’s one-stop service fulfilled these needs with its network of over 230 MNOs, globally.
Prepaid Reload by Tranglo
Tranglo operates a global airtime / prepaid telecom credit transaction hub that enables prepaid mobile credits transfer from one Telco to another Telco. With the Tranglo airtime hub, you can now share your excess mobile credit with friends and family anywhere. Tranglo’s airtime hub connects telecom partners as well as MNO/MVNOs, retail outlets and e-commerce providers worldwide. Providing our end users the ability to gift their own airtime (prepaid calling minutes, mobile data) to anyone, anywhere.