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MEF recently invited BNG, to host a webinar focusing on Mapping the Landscape Between Smart Phones and Feature Phones.

In this webinar, guests discussed the landscape of Feature Phones & Smart Phones with the audience. They talked about the challenges and opportunities in offerings for the various types of user groups, the post-pandemic global shift in consumer behaviour and other associated trends across.

Hosted by MEF Advisor Ross Flynn, guest speakers included Atul Madan, CEO of BlackNGreen, Nguvu Kamando, Director of Digital & Value-Added Service (VAS) at Vodacom Tanzania, Ranjith Balakrishnan, VP Account Management at BlackNGreen and Ajay Kumar, Product Head at BlackNGreen.

Starting the webinar, Atul Madan explained that Smart Phones are gaining ground but there are still many parts of the world where Feature Phones are still relevant, especially in the Sub-Saharan region and the Asia Pacific regions to name a few.

One of the main reasons why Feature Phones are still relevant is because Data is still costly in these regions, Atul Madan added.

Nguvu Kamando shared the same thought and described that in their region as well Feature Phones still hold the fort. Even though they are witnessing growth in smartphones as well but due to various regional factors including cost of devices, feature phones are still a major chunk of our business.

On a question that are there any changes in consumer behaviour post-Covid era. Nguvu Kamando shared that they too are witnessing changes in consumer behaviour in Post Covid era and that is why there is a need for new-age services to cater to customers.

Atul Madan added that in the Post Covid era telcos are getting into new-age services like Media & Entertainment, Enterprise and Mobile Money because they are facing continuous pressure to grow revenues and profit. Telcos have to identify new services outside regular bread-and-butter services e.g. Gaming. Additionally, it is now about non-intrusive customer engagement, managing fraud, and delivering value to customers. Which mean solutions in NextGen Mobile Gaming, beyond the traditional “html based leader-board gaming solutions”, Fraud Management, Non-intrusive advertising and Customer Value management are becoming very critical in delivering enhanced value to customers, thereby driving revenues.

On this Ranjith Balakrishnan shared that even though Smart Phones growth will increase down the line which we all are witnessing however he still believes that Feature Phones will not be extinct soon. There are other factors that also come into play, rural population, network coverage, access to electricity among others, which support this observation. Products and services will need to be prepared keeping in mind the requirements of both segments of the telco subscriber base (data and non-data). That is what he says is cross-selling of products. At BNG we are innovative and developing products which can cater to both these segments.

On a question related to Gaming, Ajay Kumar shared that according to a research report, the mobile gaming market is expected to grow more than double from USD 63.6 billion in 2021 to USD 183 billion by 2024. And looking at the growth, BNG has launched its gaming platform, MobiBattle, and is getting a positive response from the telcos with whom we have launched this platform.On asking how the Gaming industry is shaping up in Tanzania, Nguvu Kamando briefed that we are seeing tremendous growth in the Smart Phones gaming segment and this is positive. Vodacom Tanzania is ready and geared up to take the Gaming challenge.

On the regulatory front, regulators are formulating policies around the growing phenomenon of user data, marketing, payments & privacy, Atul Madan shared regulators are also looking at customer concerns and are involving telecoms and other related parties to formulate rules and regulations which can cater to the larger ecosystem.

Nguvu Kamando said that regulators in the Tanzanian market are quite supportive and they are always there to help telcos out. In fact, in our markets, regulators have led the growth in various telecom services.

Watch the webinar in full here