iSmart operates as both an On-Biller of network packages (at its own risk and for its own reward), and as a successful Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) under its SmartMobile brand. Other divisions within iSmart are active in the consumer leads, telephony provisioning and sales.
iSmart cut its teeth in the mobile space over seven years, from 2005 to 2012, as an acquisition channel for Altech Autopage Cellular, MTN and 8ta at the time (now known as Telkom Mobile) activating post-paid contracts. In the years since 2012, iSmart has refined the past learnings and has developed further unique processes to enable it to have activated over 135,000 of its own SmartMobile contract customers.
Through the application of sound credit scoring, business rules, verifications and account management methodologies, SmartMobile is able to achieve 99.4% of its expected debtors book performance.
iSmart Group Overview and History
Performance Based Outsourcing (PBO)
Altech Autopage, at the time one of the largest independent service providers representing all the South African mobile network operators, eventually agreed to a trial. After going live with the campaign on 10 Nov 2005 with 14 agents, PBO activated 81 contracts in its first month – twice the monthly average of a retail store and peaked in June 2009 when it activated 13,029 contracts in a single month.
When the relationship ended in August 2012, with Autopage going in a different direction and eventually closing down, PBO had not only activated a total of 225,000 contracts for Autopage, but had also developed into an end-to-end service provider, taking care of sales, quality assurance, warehousing and fulfilment. During the same time (as of July 2011), PBO had a similar agreement with 8ta (now Telkom Mobile) under which another 36,000+ connections were achieved.
During the latter part of 2012 and into early 2013, PBO was re-branded to iSmart and started a process of developing its own on-biller concept whereby it sold network contracts packaged with separately-sourced devices on its own account and at its own risk.
Additional to the functions previously provided to Autopage, iSmart developed credit-risk assessment processes as well as customer service and collections capabilities.
SmartMobile’s MVNO offering was launched in August of 2015 and continues as the core of its operations.
In November of the same year SmartMobile acquired the operational capabilities of Jabba Mobile – a competitor in the on-biller space, and incorporated these proficiencies as its in-house call centre sales division.
Towards the end of 2011, iSmart acquired a 52% stake in SummerMobile after being approached by its principals to take over the management of the struggling entity with a contract to sell upgrades and new lines on behalf of MTN.
After returning the entity to profitability, iSmart increased its stake to 65% in March 2014 and, eventually acquired the balance of shares September 2016. SummerMobile continues to activate in the region of 4,000 new and upgrade contracts per month for MTN.
To date SummerMobile has activated in excess of 370,000 contracts for MTN.
Other Divisions From iSmart
Right from the start, iSmart recognized the value of collating and analyzing consumer data. Over the years iSmart’s database has become a valuable asset, providing qualified sales leads to some of South Africa’s major insurance brands, utilizing communication technologies such as SMS and AVM (automated voice messaging).
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