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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vodafone Qatar Launches Anti-Bill Shock Service

Vodafone Qatar has announced the launch of Bill Manager, a product that guards its Red Postpaid customers against bill shock. Bill Manager automatically gives customers the benefits of the best local data or roaming products when they go out of bundle, without their having to activate those products in advance. For example, once customers who start roaming in one of the 78 countries included in Vodafone Passport Pack and their roaming data or voice usage reaches QAR 100 (US $27.45), which is the price of the Passport Pack, they will automatically receive 1 GB of data valid in 78 countries, 1 GB of additional data valid in the GCC countries and 100 roaming minutes valid for a week at no extra charge. If the customer consumes the data or minutes within a week, Bill Manager will give them the same benefits the moment their usage reaches another QAR 100, and so on.

As another example of local usage, if a customer consumes all of the local data allowance included in their plan and starts getting charged at the standard out of bundle rates then upon spending QAR 20, Bill Manager will automatically give customers 200 MB without additional charges which is equivalent to the benefit of a Smart Data Rate product. If the customer continues to consume local data and reaches QAR 60 (US $16.47) in charges, Bill Manager will automatically add a QAR 60 mobile internet pack, which gives the customer 1 GB data. Bill Manager continues tracking usage levels, giving benefits of 7 GB data when a customer reaches QAR 100, and so on for all mobile internet packs. Bill Manager will be available for free for new customers on Vodafone Red Plans and will be automatically added to existing Red customers from their next bill cycle. Bill Manager will also keep customers informed via SMS notifications about their savings. Customers can also check the My Vodafone app.

While roaming surcharges will no longer be a source of revenue for operators in the EU after mid-2017 (if everything goes as planned), operators in other markets will still be benefiting in the foreseeable future—in fact, they can expect growth in this area, because travelers increasingly expect to use the same data-hungry services they are accustomed to at home. To meet their needs, operators are offering more complex and focused roaming bundles. However, many users will not purchase roaming bundles in advance, nor will they have roaming as a permanent built-in part of their plans. As a result, they are liable to so-called bill shock.

Vodafone Qatar’s solution to this problem seems to us to be a good one, keeping postpaid subscribers from incurring ruinous charges while abroad (and thus preserving good will and loyalty) but also keeping them actively using the operator’s data services. This may lead them, in future, to subscribe to packages with richer and more expensive roaming benefits. However, the Bill Manager product may be so good that it could risk cannibalizing the operator’s Passport Pack and Smart Data Rate products.



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, January 9, 2017

MTN Rwanda Launches Mobile TV App

MTN Rwanda has launched an app, called MTN TV, that allows users to stream and share videos on Android data-enabled handsets at an affordable price. MTN’s Senior Manager of Marketing Operations, Gaspard Bayigane, said that all the content is available locally, which enables users to stream video almost two times faster than non-locally hosted content, which reduces buffering. An advantage of MTN TV is that customers will be able to select the channels of their choice from a range and pay for a bundle from RWF 100.00 (US $0.12). The app provides an additional platform for content providers such as TV stations, artists, film producers, comedians and media and music production companies, to share their content. In addition to streaming video, MTN TV will have advertising services. The ads are run as in-app ads or pop-ups that appear in the process of streaming or browsing the app’s menus.

 

This offer from MTN appears to fly in the face of the net-neutrality principle, with its promise to stream Rwandan content at about twice the speed of foreign content. But unlike in a more developed market, the preference given here has two potential advantages: One, it could stimulate the country’s economy, a need that may outweigh the neutrality principle in value. And two, it could benefit the operator, in that offering customers content that is affordable will lead them to make vigorous use of data services that might otherwise lie fallow. 


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, January 4, 2017

T-Mobile Poland 10 GB Prepaid Monthly Bundle

Polish operator T-Mobile has launched a new prepaid offer. For PLN 25.00 (US $5.95), customers get unlimited calls and SMS and 10 GB for a month. The package is renewed after a top-up of PLN 25.00. Customers can add more data of 1 GB, 3 GB or 5 GB for respectively PLN 5.00 (US $1.20), 9.00 (US $2.14) and 12.00 (US $2.86). New customers who port their number to T-Mobile get the offer free for 30 days after the first top-up. T-Mobile’s basic prepaid offer is PLN 1.00 (US $0.25) for unlimited calls and SMS plus 300 MB internet for one day. The fee is charged only on days when the customer uses services. Top-ups are valid for 365 days.
 
This offer looks to us like a well-conceived plan to persuade prepaid customers to make a greater commitment to T-Mobile, without giving up their prepaid status. The new monthly prepaid deal costs 25 times the daily rate but gives over 30 times the value in data. The idea here is to counteract customers’ preference for the freedom of payment by the day (with no payment for unused days) with savings, while still honoring the desire for flexibility by offering data add-ons at reasonable rates. If prepaid daily customers become prepaid monthly customers, that is one step along the path toward postpaid status, and toward eventual richer plans that generate more revenue for the operator. Converting customers from low-end to high-end is a long-term, incremental process, and T-Mobile Poland’s current offer seems like an excellent first step.
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, December 21, 2016

Free Telecom for Vodafone Portugal While 3 UK Asks Britons to Turn Phones Off



Vodafone Portugal is offering free communications on 24 and 25 December for its customers. They can choose one of two options: voice, SMS and MMS communications or free data for internet access. The offer is valid for the first 500,000 individual customers and must be activated by 21 December in the My Vodafone App, or by calling the number 1275. Meantime, 3 UK has launched a marketing campaign encouraging Britons to not use their phones at all on Christmas Day. The “Go Cold Turkey” campaign will run on social media, urging people to “properly enjoy the wonders of a delicious Christmas dinner, paper hats and watching TV repeats with loved ones,” the mobile operator said. A short film produced by the company—viewable on Three’s YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages—speaks of “a Britain afflicted with extreme device addiction” and shows the extremes to which people will go in order to use their smartphones, such as unplugging the Christmas lights to charge a phone.
 
 
Christmas has traditionally been a time for creative and generous promotions from mobile operators, who offer discounts and free services in celebration of the holiday. Such initiatives can increase customer satisfaction and loyalty and thereby boost retention—while costing the operators relatively little. This season, we were struck by the sharp contrast between two approaches by two operators in two different countries. While Vodafone Portugal takes the tried and true road of offering free communications—with a choice of either voice and text or data—3 UK is actually encouraging Britons—and not just its subscribers but all Britons—not to use telecom services at all during the holiday.
 
It certainly seems counter-intuitive and even self-destructive for a telecom operator to try and inhibit use of its core services, but arguably 3’s strange initiative could actually serve a similar purpose to that of the Portuguese promotion. By identifying “device addiction” as a social ill and making a token gesture toward fighting it, 3 UK will potentially accrue positive feelings from customers, which could have the effect of bolstering the company’s image and brand and thus helping with retention and even acquisition. And from a different angle, it is possible that taking a one- or two-day hiatus from mobile services could have the effect of increasing customers’ appetite for those services after the hiatus is over and end up driving up net consumption.
 

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, December 12, 2016

MTN Uganda Launches Customized Offers on Voice Bundles

Mobile operator MTN Uganda has launched daily voice bundles custom-designed to fit the budgets and communication needs of MTN customers at an individual level. With the new package, called MyPakaPaka, the operator is using each customer’s usage behavior and average spend to craft three 24-hour bundles, unique to each customer. MyPakaPaka bundles cost from UGX 250.00 (US $0.07) to UGX 3,000.00 (US $0.82) for durations varying from 5 to 100 minutes and can be used to make calls to any other customer on the MTN network, valid within a 24-hour period. The package is an enhancement to the existing PakaPaka bundle. MyPakaPaka is available to both prepaid and postpaid customers.
 
As we have been charting in recent articles, and as Tarifica’s research shows, MNOs are slicing their portfolios thinner and thinner, creating focused offerings that address the needs of very discrete portions of the customer base. This is being done in response to perceived customer demand for flexibility and plans tailored to them in terms of features and price. MTN’s new customized offering in Uganda fits the bill exactly—and takes customization and focus to a new level. Instead of simply creating several plan modifications aimed at the aggregate usage behavior of variously defined demographics, MTN is creating packages that match up with the usage behavior and spending patterns of individual people. Not only that, by making them extremely short-term (micro-offerings with 100 minutes or less valid for 24 hours only), it is responding to the well-known commitment phobia of today’s users. Furthermore, as consumer behavior is constantly shifting, MyPakaPaka bundles can be constantly tweaked to reflect the customer’s needs at any given time—if the offer continues. We think this is a savvy (and low-risk) idea on the part of MTN.



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 


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