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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Vodacom Lesotho Offers Hourly and Daily Deals

Vodacom Lesotho has launched the Vodacom ticket, a new offer tailored to suit individual internet usage, according to a report. The ticket, which comes in different bundles for different social media, will include categories such as video, social, music and sports, for the duration of the ongoing Russia 2018 World Cup soccer competition.
 
Vodacom’s Marketing and Brand Manager, Mpho Brown, said the Vodacom ticket can be used across a range of applications for a specified amount of time. With discounted rates, customers can choose to purchase tickets that are valid for an hour or a day. The company is considering expanding the offer to include weekly and monthly packages, depending on the level of interest.
 
Brown added that customers can choose from any of the available categories. Brown said for social media, the ticket gives customers affordable access to platforms including WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, at either hourly or daily rates.
 
This initiative from Vodacom draws on two principles simultaneously—providing customers with increased flexibility and using a short-term promotion to determine how to proceed with a new offer.
 
All across markets globally, consumers are demanding—and often receiving—options that ensure that they will have more ability than ever before to match their pricing to their their usage patterns. And since those patterns may not be steady-state but vary at differing intervals, choosing to pay for data on a weekly, daily or even hourly basis rather than monthly is the most satisfactory arrangement for many customers. And this sensitivity to time periods is exactly what Vodacom is offering subscribers in Lesotho. The concept of a voucher than can be spent in various ways is certainly not new, but calling it a ticket is a good way to make it easier for subscribers to understand or visualize it.
 
Furthermore, many users consume the vast majority of their data allowances on particular social media apps and sites. By targeting discounted data bundles to such services, operators can keep data prices as low as possible and avoid bill shock, thus appealing to customers and helping with customer retention and even acquisition. Vodacom Customer Business Unit Executive Head Tsepo Thabisi said, “Our customers can engage in the things they love the most, without the fear of spending more than they wanted to.” He added that the flexibility of the Vodacom ticket ensures that customers will not have to worry about spending limits for any one particular app or about having their data allowances depleted by other applications or by system updates.
 
Offering the ticket on a trial basis during a limited period of time makes sense in terms of gauging customer response, so that the operator can determine if it is worth continuing and, indeed, expanding to include weekly and monthly social-media targeted offers. Making the World Cup (or at least the final part of it; the event ends on 15 July) the promotional period is not strictly necessary, but it will at least permit Vodacom to assess the interest level in the sports category. Other than that, using the World Cup to determine usage preferences and interest level may not actually be the best idea, given that Lesotho football fans may be unusually active on social media during that time—a pattern that may not reflect their usage habits in general.


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 13, 2018

Telefónica Launches O2 in Spain

Telefónica has introduced its O2 brand in Spain. Targeting the budget market, O2 will feature mobile-only and convergent (fiber plus mobile) offerings. The mobile plan comes with 20 GB of data plus unlimited national calls and SMS for €20.00 (US $23.58) a month, while the convergent offer includes the same mobile service plus symmetric fiber broadband with speed up to 100 Mbps and a landline with unlimited national calls for €45.00 (US $53.06) a month. Customers may also add up to three additional mobile lines with 10 GB of data, unlimited calls and SMS for €15.00 (US $17.69) each.
 
O2 will be activated in “beta mode” in the coming days, ahead of a mass market launch that Telefónica said would take place “after the summer.” Telefónica stated that O2 will be a “premium” service, while its youth-oriented Tuenti brand will be maintained as a low-cost alternative.
 
Telefónica said that because of Spanish regulations from 2016 having to do with competition in the fiber market, these prices will only be applicable in the 66 municipalities that the regulator, CNMC, deemed competitive. In other municipalities, the O2 convergent offer will cost €58.00 (US $68.39) a month, but the operator said it will implement a system to compensate customers for the €13.00 (US $15.33) price difference and adjust the price accordingly whenever the city becomes a competitive area.
 
It appears that in introducing the O2 brand in Spain, Telefónica is aiming at a market sector that is budget-conscious but that nonetheless wants converged offers with fixed line service. The fact that the operator intends to keep its MVNO Tuenti intact indicates that it considers the market for O2 to be a distinct one. Tuenti, which originated as a social-media network, is for the youth demographic in particular and offers the lowest prices. By launching another MVNO under the O2 brand—which already has name recognition from its operations in the U.K. and Germany, Telefónica can capture a new market without compromising either its Tuenti brand or its main brand for MNO service, Movistar. Maintaining O2, which is being characterized as a relatively “premium” service, alongside Tuenti and Movistar enables the operator to slice its market more finely.
 
O2, which boasts low prices but offers landline and fiber internet for the home, will likely be quite appealing to those users who want more than just the least expensive mobile-only option—although O2’s mobile-only offer is competitively priced. Telefónica is the leader in fiber development in Spain (thus the strictures placed on it by the regulator with regard to the 66 municipalities), which is itself the number-one country in Europe for fiber-to-the home penetration. Fiber has proved to be a key differentiator among Spanish operators, and Telefónica’s competitors Vodafone and Orange have had to play catch-up.
 
With O2, Telefónica is mounting a direct challenge to the smallest of Spain’s four operators, MasMóvil, which has been growing its market share very rapidly recently. MasMóvil also offers converged services (fiber and mobile) at low cost and with a very simple pricing structure.



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, July 9, 2018

U.S. Cable Operator Charter Launches MVNO

Charter Communications, a U.S. cable operator, has inaugurated its own mobile service, called
Spectrum Mobile. The cable operator has an MVNO agreement to run on the network of Verizon Wireless. Available only to Charter’s residential broadband customers, Spectrum Mobile offers nationwide 4G/LTE service and access to a national network of Wi-Fi hotspots, with a choice of unlimited services (with throttling) for US $45.00 per line per month or US $14.00 per gigabyte of data to be shared across lines, with no throttling.

Both service plans come with unlimited calls and SMS, and customers may switch their plans on a month-by-month basis. The data allowance is described as unlimited but is capped at 20 GB per month at full speed, after which speeds may be throttled until the end of the month. Use of a smartphone as a mobile hotspot is also limited to 5 GB at full speed.

Customers can purchase devices from Spectrum Mobile on no-interest monthly plans. Devices from Samsung and LG are available to start, and additional devices will be available soon, according to Charter.

Charter’s entry into the MVNO sector appears to be a competitive response to moves by other U.S. cable providers. Last year Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, launched Xfinity Mobile service, which like Spectrum Mobile is only available to existing cable customers. Altice USA, owner of the cable operators Suddenlink and Cablevision, also has plans to launch MVNO service in the near future, according to reports.

In terms of competition, Spectrum’s pricing of US $45.00 for 20 GB is identical with that of Xfinity Mobile, while the price per gigabyte of shared data is US $12.00. Xfinity Mobile users also get access to Comcast’s TV offerings—200 on-demand channels and 40,000 shows and movies—through the Xfinity Stream smartphone app. If Charter intends to be fully competitive, it should strongly consider offering a comparable entertainment content streaming option to its MVNO offer.

On the other hand, Xfinity Mobile just announced this week that in order to keep prices for data connectivity low enough, it will be cutting the resolution of its video streaming to 480p from 720p, and reducing its hotspot service from 4G to 3G. If Spectrum Mobile can offer faster speeds (at least before throttling sets in) at the announced price, it will likely surge ahead in the race.

It appears that a trend may be afoot in the U.S. market for cable providers to exploit their pre-existing customer bases to offer multi-plays with mobile included. Given that MVNO launch strategies generally depend on incumbent customer bases, this situation is particularly good, in that companies such as Comcast and Charter have very large numbers of subscribers over a wide footprint for such basic home-based services as cable TV, landline internet and in some cases landline telephony. For customers who wish to simplify their lives and pay only one bill for all these plus mobile, without involving a separate MNO, these cable-based MVNO offers may be just right. And the price savings will be worth it for those customers who do not require very large amounts of top-speed data—Charter says that the mobile offer can save customers up to 40 percent compared to competing mobile services.


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 

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

MNO’s Report: Irish Smartphone Data Use Rose in EU

A report from Irish mobile operator Three shows that 37 percent of smartphone users in the country are using more mobile data while traveling in the EU, one year after the EU introduced new “roam like home” rules abolishing most roaming surcharges.

The report also states that among Irish smartphone users, Facebook remains the most popular app. Sixty-seven percent of these users says they believe the devices help them communicate more with friends and family, and 51 percent believe they make people safer. The report shows that 71 percent of respondents trust mobile security for banking and bill payment apps, and 55 percent value the use of smartphones to make cashless payments.

Back when the EC was debating the issue of roaming surcharges amid widespread user dissatisfaction, operators were expressing serious concerns about the impact of a rule change on their bottom line. If surcharges were abolished, connectivity revenue would go down, they argued, because operators would be paying termination fees while charging lesser amounts for service.

While the logic of that argument is clear, it ignores the potential positive effect of increased data usage on the equation, in that event that “roam like home” actually stimulated it to a sufficient degree.

If a substantial percentage (well over one third) of Irish smartphone users are consuming more data while roaming in the EU as against last year, that is a good indicator that at least in this market, roam like home has brought about a significant uptick in data use. And while we do not know Three’s exact revenue and cost amounts, it is likely that in terms of a trend, the end of EU roaming surcharges will eventually be a net positive for the operator, as for many others in the EU.

The other findings of the report—about the prominence of Facebook and the widespread customer endorsement of mobile banking and payment services—confirm what is already well known among operators, but as far as the roaming data use finding is concerned, we believe that it points toward a future in which operators in all markets embrace cellular “open borders” and capitalize on the ever-increasing interest of travelers in accessing high-speed data wherever they may be, and in large quantities. And in areas where surcharges still exist, offering generous roaming-data packages is a very good way to go, for the present time.


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 

Sunday, July 1, 2018

German Family Racks Up More Than €12,000 on Cruise Ship Roaming Charges

A family from Berlin, Germany, incurred mobile roaming charges of over €12,000 (US $13,922)  during a cruise trip from northern Germany to Norway, according to a news report. The surcharges arose after the family’s 12-year-old son viewed a number of videos on his smartphone, which was connected to a mobile network via a satellite-internet connection. The mobile provider is now demanding over €12,000 in payment for roughly 470 MB of data consumed by the family, arguing that the use of cruise ships’ mobile networks via satellite is expensive. 
 
The mobile provider has since reduced the roaming charges to roughly €5,000 (US $5,801) “as an act of goodwill.” However, the family has retained a lawyer and is taking legal action against the charges. The cruise line, Reederei Color Line, said it was sorry for the incident and that customers should inform themselves about roaming charges at sea beforehand, noting that using the cruise line’s internet Wi-Fi network would have been cost-transparent alternative.
 
This tale of epic bill shock, while perhaps not of great consequence in the larger world of telecommunications, is nonetheless a good object lesson about the ever-present need for transparency and good customer relations. 
 
Without a doubt, by today's standards of data consumption, 470 MB is a very small amount of data indeed. That a mobile customer should be billed €12,000 for it is of course, totally disproportionate, not to mention unaffordable. However, we concede the point of the unnamed operator, that use of a ship's satellite-based network is expensive and that the operator is within its rights to pass the charges on to the end user.  In this case, though, we believe that forgiveness of the charge would have been the better option, by far, for the operator. While we do not know what the markup was in this case, reducing the charge to a still-onerous €5,000 does not really solve the problem, from a customer relations point of view.
 
While it is true that users have the responsibility of informing themselves about surcharges and terms of service in advance, we take this story as a warning to service providers that full transparency coupled with aggressive publication of relevant information is essential in avoiding situations like the present one. Bill shock at this level is bound to end in public-relations disaster for any operator. Whatever the outcome of the German lawsuit, it will not make this operator look good, either to existing subscribers or potential subscribers.  



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 20, 2018

Commercial In-Flight Connectivity Revenues to Reach US $8.7 Billion by 2027

Over 23,000 commercial aircraft will provide internet connectivity to passengers by 2027, up from 7,400 in 2017, according to a recent study. For suppliers of in-flight connectivity (IFC), revenues for commercial aviation alone exceeded US $1.2 billion in 2017, and the figure should reach US $8.7 billion by 2027.
 
Beyond cabin connectivity, the next decade will see the full emergence of the SmartPlane concept, according to the report. Connected aircraft will start to support sophisticated emerging IT functionalities such as IoT, Big Data, analytics and cyber-security.
 
Up until now, in-flight connectivity has not been seen by MNOs, in general, as a worthwhile revenue opportunity to cultivate. That is perhaps because it was viewed as a niche market with a customer base that was not nearly enough to justify the costs of installing equipment on planes and developing and integrating the satellite-based networks that are needed to provide IFC. As a result, currently the main market players are satellite service providers such as Inmarsat and ViaSat, as well as other non-MNO entities such as Panasonic Avionics, Gogo, Thales InFlyt and Global Eagle. 
 
However, the report at hand indicates that commercial IFC is in fact quite a substantial market sector at the moment, and, more importantly, is poised to grow sevenfold over the next decade. With that in mind, we feel that this market is one that MNOs should not write off. Operators would do well to investigate the possibilities and find out whether partnerships with satellite providers or other technology companies could prove fruitful in getting a piece of this rapidly expanding business. 
 
One reason IFC is growing is that constant connectivity, no matter where one happens to be, has come to be seen as normal, no longer an unusual privilege. With that in mind, MNOs could offer their subscribers special packages or bundles usable during flights, as add-ons to existing plans or service arrangements. While long international flights may have the most demand, in today's ever-connected world, even shorter domestic flights could see strong demand, and operators may find it easier to provide service within their own countries, especially major ones with nationwide footprints.



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, June 18, 2018

Vodafone Qatar Helps Customers Gift Data during Ramadan

Vodafone Qatar helped thousands of people thank loved ones during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (15 May–14 June this year) as part of the company’s “Shukran” (“thank you”) campaign. The operator encouraged customers to give thanks by giving them the opportunity to gift up to 100 MB of free data every day and with every recharge, via the MyVodafone App.
 
More than 850,000 Shukran gifts were sent, totaling 83 TB of data on the Vodafone’s network. By the end of Ramadan, the number of Shukran gifts sent by Vodafone Qatar’s customers exceeded one million.
 
We have written on a number of occasions about the power of religiously oriented mobile promotions, especially those keyed to holidays or sacred periods of the year. Giving out bonus data is a frequently used approach in this regard, but Vodafone Qatar’s Ramadan promotion is innovative in that it allows subscribers to give each other the bonus data.
 
By doing do, the operator not only boosts loyalty and retention by increasing goodwill and connecting itself with religious virtue in the minds of its customers, it also promotes data use. The Shukran campaign enables users to encourage their friends, family, and associates to use more data, and this will likely be more persuasive than a simple gift directly from the operator, due to the social reinforcement aspect. By strengthening mobile relationships between users who are already linked by social relationships, the promotion can foster higher network traffic going forward.


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