Pedaling Profits

Recently I stumbled upon this story about Kenyans making a cheap mobile phone charger for their bicycles. What strikes me is the fact one would expect it is in the best interest of a telco to give such a device to consumers. The logic is self explanatory:

no power = no calls
no calls = no revenues
no revenues = no telco & no RA as well….!

No one could dispute that to have revenue assurance we must first have revenues.

The cost of the charger is $4.50. Yet no one gives it away for free to the consumers. Amazing.

By contrast, in Kenya the life insurance companies are providing free drugs to AIDS patients. Drugs which claim to extend life expectancy of their customer bases and so improves their financials… The math seems pretty simple: as long as the person is alive he/she is paying the monthly premiums or at least not claiming on their life assurance policy, which improves the financials. It looks like the telco CXOs and the RA never thought about a parallel analogy in their domain.

One comment though, a CFO of one telco in Africa mentioned once that they provide free AIDS drugs to extend the life expectancy of their customers. Seems as they didn’t think beyond that to also providing manual phone rechargers.

Of course there are hand operated phone rechargers, Nokia has one. There are also solar rechargers. I even recall one top-notch finger-revolving recharger, but none of these come close to $4.50 recharger to use with bicycles.

On a personal note I thought that telcos already altered their engineering DNA by adopting the same techniques as mass consumer companies or copying how retailers conduct business. Seems as, at least for some, there is still a way to go.

David Leshem
David Leshem
David is an expert in enterprise solutions: billing, profitability, business intelligence, customer retention, churn and revenue assurance.

Away from the office, David is a keen photographer. Visit to sample his photographic work.