Nashua Mobile helped Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) to ensure that the Community Survey 2007 ran smoothly by providing the organisation with a solution that allowed it to dispense prepaid cellular airtime worth R1,2-million to 5 600 census officers in an efficient way.
The Community Survey 2007, carried out in February, sought to gain a representative sample of the community to determine how much the population demographics have changed since the last full census that was conducted in 2001.
The idea of the survey was to gather statistically meaningful population information at a lower cost than conducting a full census. These community surveys will be conducted regularly, cutting down the frequency at which Stats SA needs to conduct a full census.
Stats SA's officers, who had prepaid services from all three network providers (Vodacom, MTN and Cell C), needed to stay in touch with the organisation. The organisation could not supply the officers with physical recharge vouchers because of the costs and risks involved in distributing such a high volume of vouchers to people spread throughout the country. Reimbursing the officers for their airtime costs would have been an administrative nightmare, and was also rejected as an option.
Stats SA, which had an existing relationship with Nashua Mobile, turned to the independent service provider for help. Nashua Mobile suggested that Stats SA use the Click-to-Recharge product, which allows corporate clients to recharge their mobile workforce's airtime using an Internet application. The costs of the recharges are billed to the client's Nashua Mobile account and are settled at the end of each month.
Once a mobile phone is selected by the client for recharge, an SMS is sent to the prepaid number with the denomination of the recharge, the voucher pin code, and instruction on how to perform the recharge.
Nashua Mobile developed a bulk upload facility that would allow a number of cellphone numbers on an Excel spreadsheet to be loaded for recharge accurately and quickly to meet Stats SA's need for a high-volume solution.
During the month that the survey was conducted, recharges were uploaded on a daily basis. Over the entire period, 16 656 recharges were successfully made for 5 598 statistical officers.
Mark Taylor, MD of Nashua Mobile, comments: "One of the traditional problems with the prepaid system was that companies found it difficult to track usage and expenditure, and to efficiently manage the vouchering process. Our Click-to-Recharge solution allows companies to pay for business calls on behalf of staff who either don't want or can't afford a contract with one of the networks, extending the benefits of cellular communications to a larger audience."