All Wireless & Prepaid News
2023 Expo Register
2023 Expo Register
Sep 05, 2017

How Data Bundles Are Igniting Mobile Airtime

Marcelo Licht

Across the emerging markets, the rapid uptake of smartphones makes them the direct path to accessing the internet and so, is fiercely driving up the demand of data usage. Lower cost of production and better access due to relaxed regulations have urged the transition to smartphones, along with the boom of social media applications, like Facebook and WhatsApp. In order to take full advantage of these services, mobile data is required.

Take Nigeria as an example. The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) lifted the data floor price, meaning that telcos and internet service providers were able to slash their prices for mobile internet access, offering more competitive prices for Nigerian smartphone users. The removal of a minimum price has been positive for Nigerian e-commerce, digital financial services, online entertainment and, of course, social media usage.

The demand for data has increased due to a shift in perceptions. The mobile industry needs to tailor their offerings to meet the needs of their end users. To keep up with the evolving mobile internet landscape in emerging markets, it would be a shrewd move for mobile operators and other industry players to introduce data bundles into their portfolios. 

So, what exactly are data bundles?

Before we can understand how data bundles can revitalise business for mobile operators, let’s get the foundations set. Data bundles are essentially packages – either internet access (surf the internet within a certain limit of bytes and/or time) or airtime & SMS (call your loved ones and send them messages), or more commonly, a combination of both. Bundles are priced at incremental values and the offering changes – the more the end user pays, the more perks they receive.

They’re easy to navigate and takes only five steps to implement:

  1. Enter the recipient mobile phone to reload
  2. Select the bundle
  3. Provide sender phone number to receive a confirmation message
  4. Collect payment
  5. Sender and recipient both receive a confirmation SMS.

Bundles generally last up to one month and are on a sliding scale of airtime, mobile data and number of SMS to be used in that time frame. This gives more freedom to the end-user to really tailor their bundle to suit their needs and requirements without being tied down to any long-term commitment.

Bolstering business with bundles

Bundles are a complementary offering and a logical, easy pitch for mobile operators as the demand is already evident. Sending bundles to loved ones in various locations only requires two pieces of information: the recipient’s mobile phone number and the operator ID – that’s it!

Similar to gifting mobile airtime, bundles are purchased by the sender for the beneficiary, adding variety to the type of outcomes and essentially, delivering more value. For permanent residents in developing nations, bundles can be an effective customer acquisition tool, opening up a variety of appealing package offers and deals. In Latin America, the number of data bundles sent, commonly from USA, have soared, exhibiting an increase of nearly 90% in transactional volume in the first half of 2017 [1].

Data bundles have the benefit of being attractive to both old and new customers. For example, many existing, regular mobile airtime beneficiaries can improve their access to the internet and keep up with the social media trend. The temporary nature of bundles is advantageous to mobile operators by feeding the enthusiasm of smartphone users to regularly recharge their balance, promoting customer loyalty and retention. Within five months of introducing data bundles to their portfolio, mobile operators have seen over a third of bundles sold are recurring transactions [1].

Simultaneously, new customers can be targeted -  particularly tourists. With data bundles lasting from one day to one month, tourists have access to uninterrupted mobile services for the duration of their visit for a competitive price. Due to low commitment, bundles are equally a well-suited product for one-off subscribers.

The convenience and functionality of bundles makes them a must-have service to fulfil the demands of the ever-increasing number of smartphone users in emerging markets.


About author

Marcelo Licht

Marcelo Licht

Marcelo Licht is EVP Americas, TransferTo

Marcelo joined the TransferTo team in 2013 as EVP for the Americas. Prior to TransferTo, Marcelo worked with IDT for over 12 years. Marcelo holds a bachelor's degree from the Universidad de la Republica in Uruguay and an MBA from ESMA in Spain.  Visit TransferTo online at



11/27/2020 - By karen lasserre
What do you do

Write a comment: