This week Airtel Kenya made the news because of a free Twitter promotion being extended to its subscribers from now until January 2015.
Subscribers will have unlimited access to the micro blogging site through web browsers and the official Twitter Android or Windows Phone apps.
In Zimbabwe the same sort of promotion was extended to Econet subscribers this year. It ends in three weeks though.
What started off on the 20 July as a one month freebie which was extended to the 20th of November, has been a great way to help Twimbos better appreciate the endless possibilities of Tweeting.
Every Econet subscriber who is using Twitter right now at no cost obviously wants the Free Twitter promotion to be extended. We are probably going to see another Twimurenga once the plug is pulled.
Funny enough though we don’t stop to think about what these promotions really mean for the MNOs. This is of course beyond what we are told about “improving the broadband user experience” and introducing more users to the magical world of rapid fire social media commentary.
Its all about boosting revenue per user. Twitter by its very nature is littered with links that prompt the user to leave the application and access sites that will end up consuming data. Its a subtle way to boost broadband consumption, something that’s hugely important because of changing revenue models in telecoms.
I guess It’s all fair at the end of the day when you think about. The network gets to sneak increased data consumption past the user in exchange for a micro-blogging service.
Since these MNOs are feeling generous and have a way of making money of it perhaps they could throw in free YouTube next and figure out a way to make money of that as well?