Social media has exploded over the last couple of years and micro-blogging site Twitter has experienced a tremendous surge in user numbers. It is not only private individuals who have been taking to the site, but also companies.
Many telecommunications and mobile service providers are present on Twitter, as they feel it is a quick and easy way for them to keep in contact with their subscribers while the users have an easy route to contact them.
IT News Africa has compiled a list of the ten African mobile operators on Twitter and ranked them according to the number of followers they have.
1. MTN Nigeria (137 111 followers)
MTN’s dominance in Nigeria has earned them the highest spot on our list in terms of followers, which is almost double that of the nearest competitor. Other than South Africa, the Nigerian territory is one of the most profitable countries for the MTN Group, which has brought in R13-billion for the group in revenue this year alone.
2. Safaricom (66 238 followers)
Safaricom is the largest mobile service provider in Kenya, and with a subscriber base of approx. 12-million subscribers, it is no surprise that they are number two on our list. Safaricom managed to boost their subscriber numbers in 2012 by being the first east African nation to provide its users with 3G technology – while 4G is also on the cards. The company posts regular updates and also engages with their followers.
3. Etisalat Misr (59 583 followers)
Operating out of Egypt, they were awarded Mobile Operator of the year for 2009 and 2010. Tweeting mainly in native Arabic, the company also regularly tweets in English, answering followers’ questions and giving them advice – they currently have 9237 tweets.
4. Vodacom (42 233 followers)
Vodacom, whose parent company is UK-based Vodafone, is the second largest company trading in Africa, with a 2010 revenue of over R9-billion. Vodacom South Africa currently enjoys 58% of the South African mobile market, with around 23-million subscribers. Being one of the most vocal South African mobile service providers on Twitter, they also have a dedicated @Vodacom111 account for complaints and suggestions.
5. Mobinil (32 924 followers)
Founded in 1998, France Télécom (Orange) owns 94% of the company, with 5% shares owned by Orascom Telecom founder Naguib Sawiris. Tweeting in a combination of Arabic and English, they have around 25 000 tweets, but are not as vocal as some of the other service providers on Twitter.
6. Etisalat Nigeria (28 642 followers)
With over 17 000 tweets under their belt, the UAE-based telecommunications services provider in Nigeria engages with their subscribers frequently to answer questions and field complaints – roughly tweeting 14 times an hour. It currently has about 12 million-subscribers and signed an agreement with Main One cable company to launch one of the first major broadband service in Nigeria.
7. Orange Tunisie (21 403 followers)
Fairly new to the Twitter game, Orange Tunisie has only just over 2 000 tweets and communicates largely in French. In Tunisia, the company is the leading 3G mobile operator, the second landline operator and the third mobile phone operator.
8. 8ta (13 611 followers)
The second South African mobile service operator to make it only the top ten list, 8ta is the fourth and youngest mobile operator in the country. Being the mobile division of landline provider Telkom, 8ta tweets on a regular basis with about 10 500 tweets since joining the service.
9. MTN (10 019 followers)
Posting profits of over R66-billion since the beginning of the year, MTN has firm Twitter presence with over 6 000 tweets – which ironically does close to MTN Nigeria’s total of 11 600 tweets. The company also regularly engage with followers and retweet a select number of posts.
10. Cell C (9 264 followers)
Rounding out the last of our top ten list, South Africa mobile provider Cell C have over 8 400 tweets and post links to interesting articles, answer subscribers’ questions and often ask questions to their followers.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor