By Elizabeth Kameo
An efficient distribution network ensures that customers
get MTN products and services any time wherever they are.
At least that is one of the guiding principles for MTN, according
to the company’s General Manager Channels and Distribution,
Mr. Simon Kisuuki.
| Simon Kisuuki
He said in an interview that his department has grown stronger
over the past year. As the company celebrates its 6th anniversary
in Uganda, Kisuuki proudly says MTN’s unique distribution
network, which takes into account the customers’ needs,
has been key to their success as a company.
While one of the challenges for MTN was establishing countrywide
distribution channels, the company has come up with innovative
ways to recruit rural entrepreneurs, including women, as retailers
and MTN franchisees.
Over the past year, Kisuuki says, MTN extended distribution
channels through three other petrol stations and it has been
a great success.
“We have opened up new distribution channels; the most
popular being the three other petrol stations, Kobil, Caltex
and Total. The majority are doing fairly well and they have
enthusiastically taken on distributing MTN products,”
While Shell Uganda enjoyed a monopoly for more than five
years as the only petrol station distributing MTN services
and products, in the past year the mobile phone company has
built capacity to distribute through other petrol stations.
“At that point in time [formative years] it was prudent
that we went in with someone who was well established…
We wanted a system where we could easily market our products,
being new players in the market. Shell approached us and gave
us a business offer which we could not decline.
“Later on, we realised that we had the capacity to establish
a system which we could easily control. So we could easily
expand to distribute through other filling stations,”
Kisuuki says distribution through other petrol stations has
helped MTN to achieve its goal of having a “Y’ello
store next door”.
In addition to the petrol stations, MTN products and services
are also accessible at Game Store and UCHUMI supermarkets
in Kampala. These new distributions channels are in addition
to the growing number of sub dealers in the country.
MTN has more than 3,000 sub dealers countrywide to support
the dealers. They are mainly shopkeepers and kiosk owners.
According to Kisuuki, the MTN approach ensures their distribution
and channels network is unique and efficient.
“We ensure that the people of Uganda own the company
and feel part and parcel of it. This you can only do if you
have a distribution network that represents these people and
is within them. They own and feel the contribution and they
become proud of the company.
“Secondly, we have a philosophy that we should have
a Y’ello store next door where people can get products
at anytime of the day. That is the convenience that has created
affinity. To do that, you need a very efficient, well-managed
distribution network system that will satisfy everyone. This
is what MTN has done over the past years,” says Kisuuki.
This unique approach is based on the company’s policy,
which takes into consideration the importance of investment
and training of the dealers.
For the past year, the distribution and channels department
has worked to ensure that services are within easy reach for
all customers. This, Kisuuki says, has been achieved and is
still an ongoing goal.
“We want customers to know that MTN has minismised
their costs of travelling distances to access products and
For the coming year, Kisuuki says MTN is set on further improving
the distribution network. That means MTN services shall literally
“We want to complete that which we have rolled out,
and also focus on tailor-made services that the consumer wants.
Does the customer want us to move on a bicycle nearer his
home? We are now in the process of engaging all our dealers
and sub dealers to find out exactly what the customer expects
So we will now concentrate on customer satisfaction through
the distribution network,” Kisuuki said.