Gender Bias in CST?
When Ghana’s Finance minister, Ken Ofori Atta, announced in mid-2019 that the Communication Service Tax - a usage tax levied on telecommunications companies or ‘telcos’ that primarily taxes mobile users for calls and data - was being increased from 6% to 9%, most people probably shrugged their shoulders at the news. Until recently, consumers did not really notice the CST as it was mostly absorbed by the telcos. This time around, the telcos were not going to bear the full cost of this tax increase and decided that they were going to charge consumers upfront. The government accused the telcos of trying to make them unpopular one year to an election. The telcos believed that they were already overtaxed as it is. Consumers were up in arms as they were not getting full value for their money – literally. We gave Speakupp users the chance to free their mind on the issue and they did not disappoint. Almost 60% of poll respondents said that the CST increase – and by extension, the upfront charge from credit – had affected them very much and thus had an effect on their mobile experience compared to only 12.50% who said it had not affected them at all. Female respondents were hit pretty hard in particular. While only just over half of males polled said that they were very affected by the increase, more than three-quarters of females (78%) replied in the same manner Even more interestingly, all respondents who responded this way were under the age of 35. Thus, the most affected group of all this? Females under the age of 35. This could also be the entrepreneur who utilizes the internet to sell products from clothes to shea butter. There may also be in this group the various business owners who contribute to Ghana having the highest percentage of female business owners in Africa. Diving a bit deeper, we also noticed that a higher percentage of iPhone/iPad users (73%) were affected by the increase as compared to 55% of Android users. This could be as a result of users of these types of devices being slightly more affluent so in effect, they are heavier consumers of mobile data. Another nugget we can pick out is that 90% of these very affected users were female. This is really not going well for our ladies! It was only about 57% for the guys. In summary, our findings show a lack of public private engagement in how this tax was to be implemented. Younger and more likely affluent females bore the brunt of CST. What seemed to be non-discriminatory, universal policy tool had a gender bias. Government needs to improve engagement and to undertake pre-implementation impact assessments in order to balance out the interests of different groups to achieve its goals. In response to public outcry, the upfront charging of credit has been discontinued. This was after our poll had ended. Source: Speakupp Polls
Who’s winning Ghana’s mobile data price war?
SOCIAL MEDIA GENERATION You could have started reading this after posting selfies using some dog filters on Snapchat. You also probably just found out on Instagram that that girl you didn’t really like in school just got married. There’s also a chance that you’ve just come out of an NDC — NPP fight in the comments section of a news story on Facebook with an absolute stranger. All these things would not be possible if you did not have one thing. Mobile data. GHANA"S MOBILE DATA SPACE What are Ghana’s telecommunications companies doing to make mobile data more accessible and affordable to the people? With the launch of Vodafone’s 4G LTE service, MTN moving from 4G to 4G+, AirtelTigo introducing data that never expires and the Ministry of Communications already talking about moving to the 5G spectrum, things seem to moving in the right direction. Or are they? Research conducted by cable.co.uk recently ranked Ghana at number 25 for cheapest data charges in the world at about $1.26 for 1GB of data. India was right at the top with 1GB of data costing $0.26 on average. Now before you pack up your bags to New Delhi in search of a cheaper way to watch YouTube, the research conducted showed that some data plans in Ghana could go as low as $0.34. That is great news so the next question to ask is, which of our beloved telcos is actually giving the lowest rates on the market? MOBILE DATA USER VIEWS We threw that question to the Speakupp universe and they spoke up! We asked for the company with the lowest data rates among the telcos (MTN, Vodafone, Glo and AirtelTigo) as well as the two other companies that provide 4G internet in Ghana (Surfline and Busy). One thing we learned? People are not feeling the 4G guys much. Just under 5% of respondents felt that they had the lowest rates. However, it was much better news for MTN. The poll showed that more than a third of respondents (36%) felt that MTN had the lowest data rates. This was followed by AirtelTigo with 31% of respondents saying they had the lowest. Both Vodafone and Glo each had just under 15% of people saying they had the lowest rates. DEMOGRAPHICS Diving a bit deeper into the data, we see a slight shift in the results when we consider gender of the respondents. 41% of males answered that MTN had the lowest data charges. From our analysis, Airtel/Tigo is giving MTN the market leader, a good run for the money of women. 31% of women thought Airtel/Tigo was cheapest as against 28% of women who favored MTN. Vodafone performed a bit better among females but the others have quite a bit of a way to go before convincing subscribers that they are value for money. More than 70% of the Speakupp users that responded to this question were between the ages of 20 and 30 years and among this age group, there was not a clear winner. MTN had the lowest rates according to 40% of 20–30 years old but AirtelTigo was not very far behind with 36%. That is quite a statement that more than 3 in 4 respondents in this group chose between MTN and AirtelTigo. MARKET SHARE According to Ghana’s National Communication Authority, as at the end of December 2018, MTN had a market share of almost 60% of 2G/3G mobile data subscriptions with AirtelTigo following with about 23%. Vodafone came third with 16% with the rest for Glo. MTN was even more dominant in the 4G mobile data space with almost 93% of all subscriptions with Surfline in second place with about 5%. It would be interesting to know if people are just voting for who they subscribe to or are making genuine comparisons between providers. The mobile subscription penetration is almost 90% in Ghana which suggests that a number of subscribers may have multiple phone numbers (likely across networks) and so it is definitely plausible that they are comparing networks to get the best deal. FUTURE TRENDS The competition for the minds, souls and money of the Ghanaian market will get more aggressive with the launch of Vodafone’s and MTN’s 4G + as well as Airtel’s never-ending data. With only 15% of favourable price responses, Vodafone has the highest mountain to climb and it will be interesting to see their market acquisition strategy. Overall, telcos will need to focus on transparent, simple and cheaper data bundles. This can only be good news for the Ghanaian customer regardless of age or gender. Source: Speakupp Polls