Africa: Frost & Sullivan Awards iBurst DRC

Frost & Sullivan recognises iBurst Africa DRC with the 2011 West and Central Africa Frost & Sullivan Growth Leadership Award.

Shalini Moodley, iBurst DRC CEO (image source: iBurst Africa)

Since its market entry in December 2008, the company has rapidly become one of the largest internet service providers (ISP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s broadband market, successfully competing with more established CDMA operators and GSM. At the end of 2009, iBurst DRC had enjoyed dramatic uptake of its broadband services, reaching over 5,000 subscribers in less than 12 months.

“In comparison to its competitors, the company has demonstrated its ability to grow in the price-sensitive Congolese market,” notes Frost & Sullivan’s ICT Research Analyst Mervin Miemoukanda.

“Although DRC was hard hit by the global recession in 2009, iBurst DRC’s subscriber base grew significantly – an outstanding achievement, as most of its rivals have, in contrast, seen their subscriber bases shrink year-on-year.”

CEO of iBurst DRC Shalini Moodley attributes this continued growth to the company’s focus on customer needs and to its provision of superior customer support.

“By listening to our customers, we adjusted our product offering and developed a strong distribution strategy. And with the right marketing approach we increased our visibility, stayed true to the brand and focused on maintaining a high network quality,” said Moodley.

She said that the most important aspect of their winning strategy was the dedication and hard work of the iBurst DRC team.

Prior to iBurst’s entry, CDMA operators and GSM were the only ones providing broadband services to the mass residential market, albeit at exorbitant rates. iBurst DRC astutely positioned itself as a market leader in the provision of broadband services to small and medium business and the mass residential market in DRC.

“iBurst’s pricing model has been designed to attract low and middle income households on the one hand, and small, medium and corporate businesses on the other,” explains Miemoukanda.

“Following effective customer segmentation, iBurst has successfully provided tailored products and tariffs to residential customers in urban areas in Kinshasa.”

After carrying out an in-depth analysis of residential customers’ needs, the company introduced low denomination vouchers, starting at 10 $, to boost the uptake of its broadband services.

“The market has reacted well to this offering, resulting in the strong uptake of iBurst’s broadband services,” says Miemoukanda. “This strategy has enabled the company to stay ahead of the competition in terms of broadband tariffs in the mass residential market.”

With these vouchers, iBurst DRC has acquired almost 10,000 subscribers, mainly in Kinshasa, representing a market share of almost 35 per cent. This is an outstanding achievement considering the price sensitivity and low-disposable income of the consumer segment.

iBurst DRC has also been able to establish itself as a leading provider of stable, value for money internet services to the corporate market in the DRC, with its product iSpeed, allowing clients to select from a range of bandwidth options to suit their needs and budgets. iSpeed has been established as the option of choice to corporates in Kinshasa and still enjoys growth in market penetration, through innovative pricing and promotional offers.

“We’re very optimistic about the future of iBurst Africa in the DRC, and believe that the company is poised for further growth especially if we continue to put the internet and technology needs of the DRC consumer first,” said iBurst Africa chairman Thami Mtshali.

“We hope to ultimately provide internet and access to technology to everyone everywhere in the Democratic Republic of Congo as this will also help strengthen the country’s socioeconomic development,” Mtshali said.

The Frost & Sullivan Award for Growth Leadership is presented to the company that has demonstrated excellence in capturing the highest annual compound growth rate for the last 3 years.

Frost & Sullivan Best Practices Awards recognize companies in a variety of regional and global markets for demonstrating outstanding achievement and superior performance in areas such as leadership, technological innovation, customer service, and strategic product development. Industry analysts compare market participants and measure performance through in-depth interviews, analysis, and extensive secondary research in order to identify best practices in the industry.

Staff Writer