Zimbabwean operator TelOne has launched a “day office” facility at the main post office building in the capital city, Harare, to promote small and medium-sized businesses and startups, according to a news report. The offices provide furnished workstations and internet access at low cost.
TelOne had extra space at the main post office, which it decided to furnish and offer to SMBs. The operator began offering these offices in October last year, and now at least 100 businesses use them each month. The users have access to the space every day between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.
TelOne has set up the offices as separate cubicles, each for up to four people. There is also an open plan setup that can accommodate larger groups. The day offices also provide facilities for printing and photocopying. TelOne communications and client experience manager Melody HarryHarry said there is a US $30.00 monthly package for 24 GB of Wi-Fi, a US $10.00 weekly package for 6 GB of Wi-Fi, and a US $2.00 daily option for 1 GB of Wi-Fi.
Among the myriad promotion deals that operators offer to customers, both consumer and business, this one stands out for its solicitous regard for a certain demographic as well as for its brick-and-mortar quality.
Monetizing an asset that the operator already had is savvy, and targeting it to a subscriber segment that is underserved is also a good idea. While offering office space deals is certainly non-traditional for a mobile operator and could be seen as diluting the product, in the context of this market, it is likely a valid strategy. SMBs may indeed have a difficult time finding affordable office space in Harare, and by combining the space with mobile connectivity via Wi-Fi TelOne stands to acquire new customers in the SMB segment. The flexibility of the offering, with daily, weekly and monthly deals at relatively low prices, makes it all the more appealing to small enterprises that may not yet have the consistency in their business that would enable them to have more regular setups.
By signing SMB clients at the ground floor, so to speak, TelOne will be able to retain their business as they grow, offering them different, and richer, services in the future.