On the occasion of Ramadan, the holy month in which Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, two mobile operators are launching SMS services designed to serve the needs of believers. Uzbekistan MNO Ucell has introduced its Ramadan Calendar, a text-based information service listing the prayer and fasting schedule for the coming five days. It is available free to all subscribers and can be activated via USSD. In Tajikistan, operator Megafon is offering an SMS service called Takvimi Ruza that provides fasting and prayer schedules, sourcing the information from the Central Mosque of the country’s capital city, Dushanbe. It, too, can be activated free of charge through a USSD menu.
As we have observed on a number of occasions, services that are tightly targeted based on a true understanding of the culture and needs of one’s customers are an excellent way for an operator to build loyalty and promote retention. Unlike the premium SMS services discussed above, Ramadan SMS services are free and have genuine utility for the mobile subscribers in question.