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Friday, December 2, 2016

Vodafone Ranks First in Spain for Network Quality


Spanish operator Vodafone has ranked first in the country for network quality, according to P3 Communications’ 2016 mobile benchmark tests. Vodafone received 865 points out of 1000, versus 836 for Movistar, 822 for Orange and 631 for Yoigo. Vodafone led in both the voice and data categories, and in 3G and 4G service alike. While all four major operators showed improvement over 2015’s results, Vodafone maintained the lead it had last year.
 
 
Despite ranking first in network quality, Vodafone ranks second in Spain in terms of subscriber base. We think the operator would do well to take these test results and use them aggressively to promote itself. Consumer satisfaction and quality of service are key factors in customer acquisition (and, of course, retention), and Vodafone should leverage the findings of this impartial, independent research entity to convince Spanish consumers to switch to its network.


Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

California Cities Mull Tax on Streaming Content Services



About 40 municipalities in the state of California are considering imposing a tax on internet-based content services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and HBO, according to news reports. In doing so, they would be following the lead of the city of Pasadena, which has already announced that effective 1 January 2017 there will be a 9.4 percent tax on each of these services. The stated purpose of the tax is to replace revenue lost to “cord cutting.” Currently cable TV services are taxed on the municipal level in California, whereas internet video content streaming is not, so when people terminate their cable subscriptions in favor of OTT providers, the given city loses a tax stream. The so-called “Netflix tax” is provoking opposition from at least one industry group, the Internet Association, whose spokesman, Noah Theran, said, “Websites and apps are not utilities and it defies logic to tax them like electricity, water or gas.”

 
We agree with Mr. Theran that streaming content services are not utilities. In fact, it has been precisely the fear of being demoted to utility status that has been motivating mobile operators to partner with streaming content services and even to create their own. While the Pasadena tax initiative appears to target only broadband access to these services, it could conceivably open the door to taxation of mobile streaming, as well. Such taxes, by increasing the total cost of services, could end up driving away some subscribers and therefore are a potential threat not only to the entertainment content providers but also to MNOs. And if MNOs (or, for that matter, fixed line operators) were to mount a legal challenge against a “Netflix tax,” we believe it would not be difficult to argue that such a tax, by discriminating with regard to certain kinds internet traffic, violates U.S. federal net neutrality rules. 



Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Monday, November 28, 2016

3 Italia Halves Price of Prepaid Plans in Holiday Offer


 
Italian operator 3 Italia has kicked off the season of festive offers by halving the price of its All-In prepaid plans. All-In 400, with 400 minutes of calls, 400 SMS and 4 GB of data, is now available for €5.00 (US $5.31) per month instead of €10.00 (US $10.62), while All-In Unlimited will be available for €10.00 per month instead of €20.00 (US $21.25) and comes with unlimited minutes and 8 GB of data. Finally, the operator’s All-In VIP Smart plan has been reduced to €15.00 (US $15.94) from €30.00 (US $31.88) per month for unlimited minutes, 300 SMS and up to 30 GB of data.

During the end-of-the-year holidays, customers are eager for discounts to celebrate the spirit of the season—and to compensate somewhat for the large amounts they need to spend on gift-giving. Mobile operators tend to make this a time for offering generous promotions to stimulate uptake, data use, and customer acquisition. 3 Italia’s festive offer this year is particularly generous, cutting prices on several prepaid options by half. We think these dramatic discounts will likely pay off for the operator, by attracting significant new business. In time, such customers can in many cases be upsold or even transition to postpaid, so the short-term financial impact of a 50 percent discount can in the long run be considered as an investment.


Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Monday, November 21, 2016

Etisalat Launches Start/Stop Data Service


Prepaid customers of UAE operator Etisalat can now access a new service called Start/Stop data, as and when required, for only 2 fils (US $0.05) per minute. The service, launched for the first time in the region, is expected to foster a completely new usage behavior of short-period on-demand mobile internet access, making data easy to use and affordable to all UAE prepaid subscribers. By dialing *777#, customers can start or stop a data session and will be charged only for the data used during that time, with no volume limit on usage. Data speed will be limited to 1Mbps during any Start/Stop data session. Khaled ElKhouly, the operator’s Chief Consumer Officer, said, “Etisalat’s launch of the ‘Start/Stop’ data service will be a game changer for the industry, making data usage accessible to all prepaid subscribers and most of all affordable. Time-based data access with pay-per-minute charging has not been launched on a commercial scale as we have done here. We are confident customers will enjoy this innovative new data service that gives them the agility to use and pay as per their usage.”

 
Whether or not Start/Stop data will revolutionize consumer behavior, we do believe that it is an innovative offering with the potential to tap into users’ oft-stated desire for more flexibility in mobile offerings. Prepaid users in particular tend to be budget-oriented, and a service such as this one which frees them from being charged for data that they do not use seems likely to be popular. The limit on speed may dissuade some, but 1 Mpbs is probably fast enough to enable basic internet use without undue difficulty. 



Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

WhatsApp to Roll out Video Calling


WhatsApp said it will be introducing a new video calling service to its over 1 billion users worldwide on iOS, Android and Windows Phone. The OTT provider stated that the service is meant for every type of phone, from the most expensive to the least expensive. The service will be rolled out to all users over the next few days. According to reports, during a video call, users will be able to switch between the forward-facing and rear-facing cameras, mute the call or press the red button to hang up. WhatsApp, which currently offers messaging and voice calling, says that video calling has been one of the most-requested features from users.
 
As we have noted frequently in these pages, free or nearly-free OTT services that compete with the offerings of MNOs have been proliferating over the past several years, posing a challenge to the mobile operators. Along with Skype, Facebook-owned WhatsApp has been one of the most vigorous challengers, fueled by its huge worldwide base of subscribers. First with text messaging, then with voice calling, it offered services that closely paralleled or duplicated those of mobile operators. The expansion of high-speed LTE networks (built with the investment of the MNOs) and the increasing availability of budget smartphones have made video calling a possibility for a vast number of users worldwide, so the time is right for WhatsApp to offer it. In this case, however, we do not see it being as significant a competitor to MNOs as with its earlier offerings. While some mobile operators have created native video calling services, for the most part consumers rely on third-party apps for video calling. Probably the company that will be most threatened by WhatsApp’s new offering is Apple, whose FaceTime feature enjoys great popularity. WhatsApp video calling is platform-agnostic, and therefore users no longer have to buy an iPhone to make video calls. The question will be how high the quality of the calls will be, and that will have a great effect on the uptake rate for WhatsApp’s video calling service.



Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Monday, November 7, 2016

oT Devices Used in Attack on U.S. Internet


The hackers who launched a distributed denial of service attack against the DNS provider Dyn late last week used hundred of thousands of connected devices such as baby monitors and home security cameras to infiltrate the networks. Dyn’s clients including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times experienced internet service disruptions.


Security experts have been warning for a while now that IoT connected devices can be infected with malware in order to cause disruptions of service across the internet. The gigantic, rapid growth of the IoT sector promises revenue to operators as well as device manufacturers, but this incident is a sobering reminder that humble connected devices used by unwitting consumers can provide easy entrance points to national and global networks. The IoT is an essential component of the worldwide telecommunications economy, but at present it appears to be an Achilles heel that needs tighter security. 




Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com 

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Tele2 Netherlands Starts Business Plans With Up to 4 TB of Data

Starting on 2 November, Tele2 Netherlands is introducing new business subscriptions and Company Bundles for employees to share. The plans are offered as SIM-only or with handsets. All subscriptions come with unlimited calls, while the data bundles vary from 1 to 24 GB per employee. Subscriptions of 100 minutes/100 SMS and a data-only plans are also available. The Company Bundles offer shared data allowances of 20, 50, 100 or 500 GB, or 1, 2 or 4 TB.  

 
We have written previously in these pages about the trend toward increased flexibility in mobile plan offerings, driven mainly by consumer demand. Consumers, motivated by budgets and by diversity and changeability of usage habits, have been demanding more options from their mobile operators. However, this growing need for flexibility is apparently affecting the business sector, as well, as exemplified by this slate of offerings from Tele2 Netherlands. Appreciating the fact that businesses’ plans for employees need to cater to a diversity of needs in terms of data and voice use, the Dutch MNO is allowing companies to purchase subscriptions so that employees need not all have the same allowances. Handset and SIM-only options address the fact that some employees are on a BYOD basis while others are not. Finally, the huge bundles of data at the top of the slate reflect the fast-growing hunger for data even among business clients, who may not be streaming massive amounts of entertainment content but may be performing job functions that consume a great deal of data. In short, offering flexibility in its plans for business customers as well as for consumers is a smart move for MNOs today.



Tarifica is the global leader in monitoring and analyzing telecom pricing. Covering hundreds of operators in every region of the globe, Tarifica’s databases of mobile and fixed line data and voice tariffs are among the largest and most in-depth in the world. Tarifica is also a leading publisher of benchmark and other pricing reports, and its analysts are recognized authorities in the telecom industry, relied upon by operators and businesses worldwide for pricing insight and guidance.

To learn more about Tarifica, please visit www.tarifica.com