Federation of Eswatini Business Community (FESBC) Vice President Hezekiel Mabuza has applauded MTN Eswatini for hearing out and responding to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) outcries about data costs and voice minutes service interconnection with other service providers.  

FESBC has over 800 members and approximately over 1 000 non–members nationwide. In the recent data price cut by MTN Eswatini, alongside the company’s ‘You Deserve the Best,’ campaign, SMEs were not left out.  

Through the SME Easy packages, the company gave small businesses the best value for money, and further introduced off-net minutes to connect SMEs with suppliers and clients who use other service providers.   

Mabuza said these developments will significantly transform the competitiveness of the SME sector in the Kingdom of Eswatini. 

“The cost of data is one of the expenses that spike the cost of doing business for SMEs. Hence, we appreciate the price cut by MTN. This comes at a time when the internet of things is rapidly becoming a technology for everyone. We have no doubt that this will enable SMEs to create new opportunities and cut operating costs,” he said.

Mabuza said they also welcome the voice minutes integration development because they deal with diverse suppliers and clients who have their preferences as well. He further applauded MTN for investing in nationwide network infrastructure.

“Before, internet access due to network unavailability was the principal obstacle to adopting technology for SMEs. Now, network coverage for MTN is no longer a problem, even for SMEs who are in the remote parts of the country,” he said. 

Mabuza said going forward; they hope MTN will continue to review data prices to enable SMEs to adopt the technology. 

“The trend is clear. SMEs must adopt the technology. Digital platforms can quickly process and streamline administrative tasks, giving SMEs more time and money to focus on growing their businesses. Traditionally, SMEs have used social media to their advantage in terms of marketing their products. But the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that the use of the internet is now not optional but a necessity, especially for SMEs who have been technophobic,” he said.   

Data price cut ideal for SEDCO’s SMEs virtual capacity building

The recent data price cut by MTN Eswatini will come in handy for the Small Enterprises Development Company’s (SEDCO) small and medium enterprise virtual capacity building.

SEDCO attends to between 30 000-40 000 SMEs per annum.

SEDCO Chief Executive Officer Dorrington Matiwane said due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they were forced to train and engage SMEs virtually using tools such as Zoom Video Conferencing and Microsoft Teams. 

“One of the concerns that SMEs raised was the cost of data. That is why we are happy and appreciate what MTN has done, especially because their network covers almost all parts of the country,” said Matiwane.

On the voice minutes service integration with other service providers, Matiwane said it is a “breath of fresh air.”

“This is a very momentous development that will improve efficiency, communication, and reduce communication costs for SMEs. It is getting easier for SMEs to do business in Eswatini and technology is playing a key role,” concluded Matiwane.