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AT, The Game is not The Name!

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AirtelTigo now AT
AirtelTigo now AT

I have heard and read people say that AirtelTigo’s new name, AT is not innovative.

Well, I won’t take a position yet. But let’s take a look at a few points and then you decide.

1. When Airtel and Tigo merged in 2017 and decided to call the company AIRTELTIGO, the same kind of comments went round, that it is not innovative. In fact some even suggested TIGOTEL, AIRTIGO and all that.

2. AT is not the first to use just letters or letters and numbers as its brand name. Right under our noses here, we have MTN. Elsewhere we have AT&T, EE, O2, and 3UK, which has now merged with Vodafone. So, this is not the first time any telco is using just letters.

3. I am sure all the others have meanings to and reasons for the names. AT is just the simple form of AirtelTigo, and the company has explained that it is in tandem with the brand promise – LIFE IS SIMPLE. So, they want customers and stakeholders to find the name simple and also easily identify them.

 

For instance, the sub-brands have changed to ATMoney, AT Business, AT Premier and AT Insurance. Are these not better and simpler than AirtelTigoMoney, AirtelTigo Business, AirtelTigo Premier and AirtelTigo Insurance?

QoS and QoE

What we should be concerned about is whether the rebranding will translate into BETTER QUALITY OF SERVICE (QoS) AND GREATER QUALITY OF EXPERIENCE (QoE) for customers. That is critical, but not the innovativeness of the name. I don’t see anything wrong with the name at all. In fact I find it cuter and simpler than the tacky AirtelTigo.

The CEO has said that in a few weeks there will be some exciting offers for customers in line with the new brand name. Well, that is good to know. But no offer can be as exciting as a regularly good quality of network service, which then translates into a great customer experience on a regular basis. Even if you don’t give free offers and the quality of the network is good, you will win new customers and grow. This is a numbers game not a brand name game, and I am sure the fine professionals at AT are fully aware of this.

When MTN was declared an SMP in 2020, the expectation was that players like AT, Vodafone (now Telecel) and the defunct Glo were going to make some savings from the interconnect fees they paid to MTN and invest that money to better position themselves and attract more customers and grow. Three years on, we are told they saved a commutative GHS86.6 million, but the subscriber numbers still show that Glo has collapsed, while Vodafone and AT’s market shares have dwindled.

The numbers

 

In 2020 when MTN was made SMP, they had 55% market share. Three years on, MTN now has 67% – growth. Meanwhile Vodafone’s market share, over the same period fell from 22% to 18%, while that of AT also fell by even a bigger margin from 18% to the current 14.7% – this is even in spite of the fact that Glo added their 800,000 customers to AT in April 2022, otherwise things would have been much worse for AT.

So growing market share does not lie in your competitor being named an SMP or in rebranding your name. It lies in only one thing and one thing only – providing great quality of service and experience. Indeed, consumers always compare to see which service provider has a better quality, compared to the others. So, there could be a general low quality of service in the country, compared to what pertains in other jurisdictions. But among the players in the country, consumers will always choose the one that gives them lesser hassle.

AT, I welcome your simple and cute name. But you owe yourself a duty to up your game beyond the name – it is called better QoS and great QoE. I am confident that with a new investor onboard and with the injection of superior technology from Oracle, things will begin to look better on the QoS and QoE side, so more Ghanaians will find the network attractive and sign on. In fact, I am going to reactivate my AT SIM now!

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