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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Stand-Alone Messaging App from Amazon

U.S. e-commerce giant Amazon plans to launch its own stand-alone messaging app, called Anytime, according to a news report that cites a user who claims to have received an Amazon survey about the new messaging service. Amazon has not confirmed that it is working on this service.
 
The app would be available to end-users of smartphones, tablets, PCs and smartwatches. The survey asks users which features are most important to them, and according to one customer, the survey seemed to imply it was a ready product. Anytime is described as an all-in-one feature-rich service that includes text messages and video chat. Anytime will also include features that can be used in groups, such as games, music, and food ordering.
 
The service will keep chats private and will allow users to “encrypt important messages like bank account details.”
 
While this report is certainly far from conclusive, Amazon’s ambitions have always been big and appear to be getting bigger. The company has already launched messaging services for both businesses and consumers, including Amazon Chime, the online video-conferencing service for enterprises. Recently it launched messaging and calling features for Alexa devices.
 
So it makes sense that Amazon would launch an all-purpose OTT messaging app to compete directly with WhatsApp, Skype and others. And considering the company’s highly aggressive approach in general, its level of capitalization and its huge existing customer base, we would not be surprised to see Anytime (if that is what it will be called) pose a major threat to all existing players. Perhaps it would eventually even acquire and take over some of those services.
 
For mobile operators, Amazon’s entry into the OTT space would not have the impact it would have on the OTT players themselves, of course. The game has already been lost, in a sense, with MNOs losing messaging business to OTTs and then striking deals to zero-rate their data and even engaging in partnerships to promote them. Still, a huge, possibly market-dominating new player could shake things up in the sector. Amazon would arguably have less reason to work with the MNOs for promotional purposes, and it could also simply, by virtue of its size and scope, take even more business away from SMS/MMS and even MNOs’ voice services. At the very least, an Amazon OTT would be just one more challenge for mobile operators to contend with in the traditional services space—and maybe beyond, given the possible presence of gaming, music and other non-traditional features in the putative Anytime.



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, July 7, 2017

T-Mobile Poland Introduces Unlimited Calling Plan With Family Discount

T-Mobile Poland has launched an offer called T-Mobile 1 – Without Limit, which features unlimited calls (including in the EU), SMS and MMS as well as 10 GB of high-speed data, starting from PLN 30.00 (US $8.02). The packages are also available with a smartphone; this option also includes a free one-year Netflix subscription.

There are packages for couples and families as well as for individuals. Without a device the cost is PLN 50.00 (US $13.37) for individuals, PLN 40.00 (US $10.70) per person for couples and PLN 30.00 (US $8.02) per person for families. With smartphone, the prices are PLN 80.00 (US $21.40), PLN 60.00 (US $16.05) and PLN 50.00 (US $13.37), respectively. Phones available include Huawei P9 Lite (2017) and LG X Power 2 for PLN 1.00 (US $0.27) up front. The operator also offers Sony Xperia XA1, Huawei P10 Lite and other devices.

Customers porting a number from another network will get an additional monthly discount of PLN 10.00 (US $2.68) during the whole contract period.


With this slate of offers, T-Mobile Poland is going back to basics—which might be just the thing for this particular market. For one thing, despite the ballooning of data-hungry apps and services, traditional voice calls and text messaging are still very important to many demographic groups. And in the EU, where the relatively small size of countries and the openness of the borders makes frequent travel easy, the end of roaming surcharges means that there will be increased demand for voice calls between countries. So unlimited voice and texts make for a timely offer. (Technically speaking, the data in these plans is also unlimited, but since the speed is decreased to 1 Mbps after 10 GB is reached, we do not consider it truly so).

The pricing of T-Mobile 1 – Without Limit has been structured to incentivize couples and larger families to subscribe, with prices per person decreasing as the number of users increases. This appears to be a good approach in terms of maximizing subscriber numbers over time and cultivating the younger generations. As younger members of a family leave home and set up their own households, they will be more likely to subscribe to T-Mobile on their own if their brand loyalty has already been established.

Finally, the free subscription to Netflix is a good way to sweeten the deal (perhaps not quite so sweet as zero-rating Netflix data), although the list of available devices may not be so attractive, since high-end Apple and Samsung phones do not appear to be among them. 



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 

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Vodafone Italia Appears Set to Launch Budget MVNO


Vodafone Italia is preparing to launch a low-cost MVNO brand later this year to compete with Telecom Italia’s recent debut of its Kena Mobile MVNO and the imminent entry of France’s Iliad as the country’s fourth mobile network operator, according to a news report. Back on 8 March, Vodafone created a company called Vei SRL and informed competitors that it holds a general license for full MVNO activities.
 
The new entity would serve as the vehicle for the new MVNO brand, which could begin providing mobile number portability services as early as this September, said the report. While Vodafone sources indicated to journalists that no final decision has been taken and that the company is still evaluating its options, the creation of a new brand and the existence of a detailed roadmap point to the imminent launch of a budget service.
 
Italy’s MVNO war looks set to heat up, with some help from a foreign power, so to speak. Two months ago, TIM (Telecom Italia) began offering Kena Mobile MVNO plans. In addition, French operator Iliad (which provides mobile service under the brand Free) plans to launch as an MNO in Italy sometime between November 2017 and January 2018.
 
In this market climate, it makes a great deal of sense for Vodafone Italia to take decisive action and create its own budget-minded service to compete. The famously disruptive Iliad is known for its aggressive offers and says it is planning to grab 10 percent of the Italian mobile market quickly. Vodafone sees the need to respond in kind. At an industry conference last November, Vittorio Colao, the CEO of Vodafone, when asked about Free’s launch in Italy, said, “When you have a big warship and the pirates are approaching, it makes sense to send out the commandos in the speed boats,” referring to tactics such as price cuts and more generous data bundles.
 
Now that the time to deploy the commandos has arrived, the operator has apparently chosen the MVNO type of speed boat. The logic of that seems to be that by breaking out its budget service into a separate brand, Vodafone can more effectively and directly market itself as an alternative to Free (as well as to TIM’s MVNO), both to existing and prospective customers.
 
As for TIM, its new Kena Mobile MVNO is offering the choice of a voice-only bundle of 1,000 minutes or a bundle of 4 GB of 3G data for €3.99 (US $4.45) per month, with the cost rising to €9.99 (US $11.14) per month for 600 voice minutes, 100 SMS and 6 GB of data. We would expect Vodafone’s prospective MVNO, if it indeed comes to the market, to at least equal that.






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, June 23, 2017

T-Mobile Czech Republic Debuts IoT Portal

T-Mobile Czech Republic has launched a new web portal having to do with the Internet of Things, called TEO. In its initial phase, the portal will include examples of existing solutions deployed by customers as well as examples of applications of the technology in business. The portal also introduces the members of T-Mobile’s TEO team.

In addition to its catalogue of existing customer solutions, TEO will also allow companies to submit direct requests for IoT solutions, and the team will subsequently prepare specific proposals for their deployment. Eventually, a blog on news on the IoT will be added, as well as an e-shop that will offer individualized products and complete solutions, running on the network Sigfox, according to Ondrej Kozina, Manager of Innovations at T-Mobile.

As we have written previously, the Internet of Things represents a huge opportunity for mobile operators. Of course the potential revenue from connectivity is significant, as IoT-enabled devices proliferate and require networks on which to operate. The market is expanding rapidly; spending on IoT systems is expected to grow by 16.7 percent to over US $800 billion in the coming year and to US $1.4 trillion by 2021, according to an analysts’ report. Manufacturing, freight monitoring and asset management will account for the lion’s share of this spending, while airport monitoring, smart home systems, electric vehicle charging and in-store marketing will experience the fastest growth.

Beyond the question of connectivity revenue, the IoT is an excellent venue for exactly the kind of non-traditional services that MNOs are looking for as they diversify in an effort to remain relevant in an age of declining ARPU from traditional mobile services.

This latter, larger purpose will be best served if operators take matters into their own hands instead of waiting for IoT developers and other technology companies to create applications. Being the “dumb pipe” of the emerging IoT will not serve operators particularly well, as far as long-term growth is concerned. To avoid that trap, operators should take a page out of T-Mobile Czech Republic’s book and become active partners in developing actual systems. Inviting the submission of ideas for applications is an excellent first step, in our view. Creating or co-creating solutions that are genuinely desired in the marketplace will be the next step, and this will enable the operator to aggressively insert its brand into the emerging IoT sphere and to sell solutions as well as network connectivity. 





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, June 14, 2017

Mobile Data Consumption in Mexico Up 69 Percent

The number of Mexican mobile lines in use rose to 112.4 million at the end of the first quarter of 2017, up from 109.0 million in the previous year, according to a report by Mexico City-based analytic firm The Competitive Intelligence Unit. The growing availability of affordable plans and of flat-rate mobile broadband offers with zero-rated social media access have contributed to the 69 percent year-over-year growth in mobile data consumption, to an average of 528 MB per user at the end of the first quarter. However, mobile ARPU continued to decline, dipping 4.3 percent year-over-year to just under US $7.00 per month, according to the same report.

There is a clear lesson in this dramatic figure, and it is not a very reassuring one despite the impressive growth in data use.

Certainly, it is true that in Mexico, uptake in use of data services is very rapid, and the quantities of data per user are getting quite large. That is also true of many markets, and not only those that are still developing and have not reached saturation. A report just released by Ericsson anticipates that mobile broadband subscribers worldwide will double by 2022, and that mobile broadband subscriptions should increase at a rate of 1 million per day, from 4.39 billion at the end of 2016 to 8.28 billion in 2022. Ericsson also found that 4G/LTE will overtake GSM in 2018, having grown faster than any mobile technology ever.

Nonetheless, we should take note of the fact that in a period in which mobile data consumption rose by 69 percent, ARPU from such services declined. That is due in part to the necessity of zero-rating data and offering flat-rate plans in order to promote data use, but it is also an expression of the industry-wide trend toward declining ARPU from mobile services and the movement of these services toward commodity status.

The results from the Mexican market, then, are a timely reminder of the need for operators to find new revenue streams via new uses for the data that is being consumed so avidly. The demand for data-driven services and products is there; the question is how to make it pay. As we have written on previous occasions, creative branding and engaging in partnerships for technological innovation are very important components of this ongoing effort.



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, June 7, 2017

Polish Minister: Roam-Like-at-Home Will Hurt Telecom Market

According to Anna Strezynska, Poland’s Minister of Digitization, implementing the roam-like-at-home regulation, in keeping with European Commission regulations taking effect this month, will bring difficulties in Poland. The large proportion of plans that include discount prices and generous service allotments will cause mobile operators to lose money, Strezynska said in a media interview.
 
Referring to Orange Poland, which has already implemented the roam-like-at-home principle consistently, she suggested that the operator, being part of a large international telecommunications group, has the option of cross-subsidizing roaming services. However, its competitors, P4 and Polkomtel, as well as at least two networks operating only on the national market, have no such capability
 
Strezynska also said that a relatively small group of users in Poland benefits from roaming services, while the majority will end up subsidizing these services in order to meet the European Commission’s requirements. This cannot be allowed, said Strezynska and continued: “For many years, we have been fighting for low prices in Poland,” she said, adding that she will be having talks with the European Commission to seek a solution to the roaming issue.
 
The long-heralded end to roaming surcharges in the EU, which is set to begin this month, clearly will be experienced differently in different member states. Widely touted by EC officials as an unmitigated boon to consumers, roam-like-at-home will definitely not be a gift to operators, and the impacts will obviously differ depending on the nature of the national market in question.
 
A report from Ernst & Young Poland has presented the findings on the effects that implementing the roam-like-at-home principle would have in the country. The firm estimates that the disparity between roaming and domestic rates will cost the average Polish operator around PLN 180 million (US $21.5 million) in revenues through limited consumption and around PLN 55 million (US $14.8 million) in EBITDA because of higher costs. According to EC data, the differences in wholesale rates, combined with the roaming use profile of the typical Polish subscriber, mean that Polish mobile networks will record losses from roam-like-at-home.
 
Despite all this, the time for arguing and negotiating with the EC is likely over. Polish operators—as well as operators in other markets, no doubt—will simply need to come up with creative pricing strategies to offset these losses. 


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, June 2, 2017

Vodafone Italia Appears Set to Launch Budget MVNO

Vodafone Italia is preparing to launch a low-cost MVNO brand later this year to compete with Telecom Italia’s recent debut of its Kena Mobile MVNO and the imminent entry of France’s Iliad as the country’s fourth mobile network operator, according to a news report. Back on 8 March, Vodafone created a company called Vei SRL and informed competitors that it holds a general license for full MVNO activities.
 
The new entity would serve as the vehicle for the new MVNO brand, which could begin providing mobile number portability services as early as this September, said the report. While Vodafone sources indicated to journalists that no final decision has been taken and that the company is still evaluating its options, the creation of a new brand and the existence of a detailed roadmap point to the imminent launch of a budget service.
 
Italy’s MVNO war looks set to heat up, with some help from a foreign power, so to speak. Two months ago, TIM (Telecom Italia) began offering Kena Mobile MVNO plans. In addition, French operator Iliad (which provides mobile service under the brand Free) plans to launch as an MNO in Italy sometime between November 2017 and January 2018.
 
In this market climate, it makes a great deal of sense for Vodafone Italia to take decisive action and create its own budget-minded service to compete. The famously disruptive Iliad is known for its aggressive offers and says it is planning to grab 10 percent of the Italian mobile market quickly. Vodafone sees the need to respond in kind. At an industry conference last November, Vittorio Colao, the CEO of Vodafone, when asked about Free’s launch in Italy, said, “When you have a big warship and the pirates are approaching, it makes sense to send out the commandos in the speed boats,” referring to tactics such as price cuts and more generous data bundles.
 
Now that the time to deploy the commandos has arrived, the operator has apparently chosen the MVNO type of speed boat. The logic of that seems to be that by breaking out its budget service into a separate brand, Vodafone can more effectively and directly market itself as an alternative to Free (as well as to TIM’s MVNO), both to existing and prospective customers.
 
As for TIM, its new Kena Mobile MVNO is offering the choice of a voice-only bundle of 1,000 minutes or a bundle of 4 GB of 3G data for €3.99 (US $4.45) per month, with the cost rising to €9.99 (US $11.14) per month for 600 voice minutes, 100 SMS and 6 GB of data. We would expect Vodafone’s prospective MVNO, if it indeed comes to the market, to at least equal that.



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