People 'n' Issues

Prepaid data meets IoT

April 5th, 2016
Given the explosion of the M2M sector, prepaid SIMs should be viewed as a critical business tool for the modern age, not just an end-user solution, writes HEIN KOEN, co-founder of Flickswitch.
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Data traffic is expected to see an almost ten-fold increase by 2019, due to the growing range of new services and applications. However, while the GSMA Sub-Saharan Africa Mobile Economy 2015 report projects that machine-to-machine connections (M2M) in the region will reach 30 million by 2020, difficult economic conditions mean that enterprises using this technology remain under pressure to reduce their mobile data expenditure.

With the need to tighten budgets and a push to be more efficient, enterprises are re-examining their mobile data expenditure, prepaid offers a perfect alternative.

The age of enterprise prepaid is here

Gone are the days when traditional corporate accounts are the go-to product. With the continuous expansion of data requirements in a digital world, decision-makers are considering all avenues. Prepaid SIMs should form an integral part of this discussion.

Prepaid is often viewed as something only consumers in developing markets use, and while this might have been true a few years ago, the reality is quite different. It presents businesses of all sizes across industry sectors with a feasible data management solution.

We have been doubling the number of prepaid SIMs we manage in the market year on year, across sectors including retail, asset tracking, agriculture, insurance, and media. Prepaid solutions cut out potential bill-shock as users (and devices) can only use the amount of data that gets loaded. With lower risk and ultimate budget control, prepaid solutions have in many cases become the platform of choice.

Furthermore, it is more than just an end-user solution. Given the explosion of the M2M sector, prepaid provides even further impetus for change.

The 2015 Vodafone M2M Barometer Report reveals that 35 percent of South African companies surveyed have implemented M2M projects, with 26 percent planning to do so within the next 12 months. 

Additionally, those companies who have adopted M2M technologies have already experienced a significant return on investment.

Those businesses who have embraced M2M are also seeing the benefits that prepaid provides them in the space. While it helps alleviate the burden of deploying SIMs to field workers and M2M-enabled devices, it needs to be managed effectively and there are management tools available that enable companies to better manage the prepaid SIMs they have in circulation.

Controlling everything from per-SIM data limits, to easily allowing those SIMs in use to be topped up if need be, the age of enterprise prepaid is here. By working with tools and partners who can help them manage their SIMs, enterprises are now in a position to be able to adjust to organisational requirements quicker than in the past.

Prepaid SIMs should therefore be viewed as a critical business tool for the modern age. Its low risk and cost effectiveness, linked to the ability to manage, make it a great business differentiator.

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