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Monday, December 10, 2018

KT Loses Over 1,600 Customers in Three Days After Outage


The number of mobile phone subscribers at South Korean operator KT sharply declined for three days in a row after a fire at one of the company’s facilities in the capital city of Seoul  and led to disruptions in internet and phone service, according to reports. The fire broke out at a building in western Seoul on 24 November and paralyzed the fixed line, mobile and internet networks for individuals and businesses using KT in Seoul’s western wards of Mapo, Seodaemun and Eunpyeong, as well as some parts of Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul.

According to the Korea Telecommunications Operators Association, the number of KT subscribers decreased by a total of 1,666 between 24 November and 26 November. The report also indicates that the number of users subscribing to competitors SK Telecom and LG Uplus increased by 224 and 1,442, respectively, during those three days.

This incident in South Korea gives an especially dramatic illustration of just how fragile subscriber loyalty can be in the face of major service interruptions. The KT outage in Seoul was due to a fire, which could be construed as an unfortunate accident and not the result of sloppy management and maintenance. Nonetheless, over 1600 customers chose to walk away from KT (the country’s second-ranked operator by subscribers, out of three) and sign up with its competitors. It is noteworthy that many more went over to LG Uplus, the third-ranked operator, rather than to market leader SK Telecom. Recently LG has been rapidly gaining market share in the country.

Operators should take this as a cautionary tale of the potentially unforgiving nature of their customer bases when it comes to disruption of service. Mobile connectivity has become so essential, indeed the lifeblood of the economy and society itself, that even a short-term lack of availability can be perceived as a deal-breaker. Taking the threat of loss of business seriously means getting out in front of a disaster such as this one. In order to ward off subscriber loss, an operator could immediately, during the first day, promise generous compensatory offers to its subscribers, including service credits, bonus data, or even free devices. A bold move is required to convince irate users. Waiting to offer compensation until the issue is resolved could be waiting far too long.

In addition, full transparency and effective, rapid communication are key elements in a strategy to retain as many customers as possible after a catastrophic service outage.


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 5, 2018

T-Mobile Austria Offers Promotion for Customers Under 27

Operator T-Mobile Austria has introduced a Christmas promotion for young customers, ages 18 to 26, the My Mobile Youth tariffs. Those who choose the My Mobile Youth Extreme tariff (the richer of the two offerings) will get a discount of €200.00 (US $226.98) on the purchase of a smartphone by Apple, Huawei or Samsung. This discount applies to the Apple iPhone X, iPhone XS, Huawei P20, Huawei P20 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S9, and is good for orders made by 6 January 2019. Also under the promotion, the activation fee of €69.99 (US $79.43) is waived.

The My Mobile Youth Turbo plan costs €19.99 (US $22.69) a month and includes 16 GB data, of which 9 GB can be used for EU roaming, at up to 50 Mbps for downloads and at up to 10 Mbps for uploads, as well as unlimited telephony and SMS, which includes roaming in the EU. The My Mobile Youth Extreme plan costs €24.99 (US $28.36) a month and includes 24 GB data, of which 12 GB can be used in EU roaming at a download speed up to 150 Mbps and an upload speed up to 50 Mbps, unlimited telephony and SMS, including EU roaming.

The annual service fee for these tariffs is €22.00 (US $24.97).

As is well known by now, the youth demographic is especially precious for operators, due to the strong demand for mobile data among such customers, combined with the fact that in this age range (approximately 18–30), consumers are forming usage habits and making decisions about brand allegiance that may well last a lifetime.

To cultivate this market and aggressively acquire subscribers from it, operators have been using various strategies. Any successful strategy must be built on a keen awareness of the particular needs, constraints and, above all, cultural characteristics of young users. One key characteristic is that they tend to have relatively little money to spend on mobile services, despite having a very strong appetite for data-intensive smartphone functionalities such as streaming entertainment content. Therefore, providing large amounts of high-speed data at as low a price as possible should be the goal.

With My Mobile Youth, T-Mobile Austria is meeting this goal. Both plans in the range offer enough data to put a high-end smartphone through its paces, with upload and download speeds that are competitive within the context of a developed economy such as Austria’s. In addition to the reasonable prices at both levels, the waiver of the activation fee, although a one-time savings, is likely to be persuasive to young users on a tight budget.

But what makes this offering particularly attractive is the inclusion of a substantial discount on the purchase of a smartphone from one of the two high-end brands (Apple and Samsung) or from the budget brand Huawei. It is an essential principle for operators that without an appropriate device in hand, users will not be able to maximize the utility of the data they are purchasing. To keep them purchasing and using this data, they must have access to the devices at prices they can afford. The device discounts may cost the operator in the short run but will certainly pay dividends in the long run, in terms of data revenue and subscriber loyalty.

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 

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Ooredoo Qatar’s Mobile Money Payroll Service Sees Growth

Mobile Ooredoo Qatar announced that its Ooredoo Money Payroll service is experiencing rapid growth. Over 150,000 employees currently use the service, which has been used to pay more than QAR 3 billion (US $817 million) to employees since its launch in 2015. Each month, over QAR 115 million (US $31.3 million) is paid to employees across Qatar, directly into their Ooredoo Money Wallets, via Ooredoo Money Payroll.

Mobile money achieved prominence as a way of providing access to liquidity to unbanked users or those who were underserved by traditional financial institutions. Its core functionality was peer-to-peer payments among individuals. In the last several years, we have seen mobile money expand tremendously beyond its original conception.

For one thing, it has flourished in markets that are more developed than those of sub-Saharan Africa, where it grew fastest. Qatar, a wealthy country, is a good example. Of course, it should be pointed out that in certain Gulf states, mobile money is especially appreciated by foreign workers who remit funds home to family, and this demographic does bear similarities to the underbanked in less developed economies.

Secondly, it has come to be used widely even by those who do have access to banks and other financial services, mainly because it is perceived as convenient and seamless. In some cases, the integration of mobile money with other mobile services from operators has proved an incentive in itself for users to adopt it.

In this case, with Ooredoo Qatar, we are seeing large enterprises adopting mobile money as a means to pay their employees. The operator evidently perceived correctly that this would be a boon to both parties, considering its rapid growth and the sheer volume of payments being made currently. Once users are comfortable with the concept of mobile money, there is apparently no impediment to getting them to accept payroll payments through this means. And for the companies that are issuing the payments, the attendant costs must be low enough in comparison to banks’ systems to make it worthwhile. In Qatar, it is likely that a large percentage of the employees who participate are immigrants or expats who already appreciate the functionalities of Ooredoo’s mobile money platform, Ooredoo Money.

For the operator, mobile money payroll is an excellent, innovative way to expand its reach and increase revenue while shoring up loyalty both from individual users and from large corporations. The size of the corporate partners and the number of payments being issued make this a truly impressive revenue growth opportunity.

On a related note, Ooredoo Qatar is now promoting Ooredoo Money with an offer running through 31 December that gives a free data bundle of 750 MB to any customer who makes an international transfer of QAR 1001.00 (US $272.60) or more. The free data is valid for five days. and above using Ooredoo Money will enjoy 750 MB of free data valid for five days and can also be used in selected countries including India, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

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, November 27, 2018

Sprint Releases a Wireless Device for Drivers

U.S. operator Sprint has launched Sprint Drive, a new product that allows parents to monitor their teenage children while they are behind the wheel and also gives and businesses a way to monitors their fleets of motor vehicles. Sprint Drive is a small wireless device that plugs into a car’s steering system and keeps drivers connected to their cars while providing real-time information via a smartphone or other mobile browser.

Powered by the HARMAN Ignite automotive cloud platform, Sprint Drive features include real-time vehicle location and monitoring; trip history and aggressive driver alerts such as hard acceleration and braking; 4G/LTE Wi-Fi for in-vehicle productivity and entertainment; roadside assistance; vehicle health notification alerts, and hotline advice from certified mechanics.

Sprint Drive lets parents monitor their teen drivers with real-time tracking, follow the vehicle’s location and send an alert if the child goes beyond set boundaries. Sprint Drive also lets parents review their teen’s driving skills and habits. Sprint Drive lets business owners monitor a fleet of up to 25 vehicles, either from the office or from a mobile device. With the 4G/LTE Wi-Fi hotspot, passengers can work on emails or stay entertained by connecting up to eight devices to Sprint’s 4G/LTE network.

Starting on 21 November, customers can get the Sprint Drive device free for a limited time with a 24-month installment plan and qualifying data plan. Customers can choose either Sprint Drive Unlimited (priced at US $25.00 per month per line with Unlimited Mobile Hotspot) and Sprint Drive 2 GB (priced at US $10.00 per month per line with 2 GB of Mobile Hotspot).

IoT devices, whether consumer or business-oriented, do best when tightly targeted at specific needs. Identifying these needs is, therefore, key to success in this sector. In this case, Sprint has been asking the right questions and listening to the answers. Almost nine out of 10 parents of new drivers throughout the U.S. told the operator that they would like to be able to monitor their child’s driving habits. Sprint Drive fills that need very directly and simply, and while the idea of monitoring someone else’s movements might seem at odds with the privacy that mobile users increasingly demand, when it comes to children and parents, safety concerns come first, and parents are legally in the clear when it comes to monitoring the movements of a vehicle they own.

As for businesses, monitoring and tracking a fleet of company cars or trucks is, of course, very desirable. For both business and consumer users, Sprint is offering the service at a low price and in a way that evidently does not require any complex, bulky or invasive presence of technology in the vehicle.

For an operator to partner with technology developers such as HARMAN Ignite is a savvy move and places that operator in a position to be a player in an automotive IoT space that is occupied by many entities that are not mobile operators. As such, solutions such as Sprint Drive represent a path toward diversifying and increasing relevance. This is also a way to increase an operator’s subscriber base.

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 

Saturday, November 24, 2018

T-Mobile Netherlands Offers One Day of Unlimited Data to All Customers

Operator T-Mobile Netherlands is offering all its consumer subscribers, both prepaid and postpaid, one day of unlimited mobile data. The offer is designed to underline the operator’s top ranking in the Ookla Speedtest.

Postpaid customers may sign up online for the special offer, while prepaid customers need to send an SMS to a short code. For customers who are currently on an unlimited data plan, T-Mobile is holding a prize giveaway, in which customers can win concert tickets, gift vouchers and portable phone chargers.

We find this data giveaway interesting because of the reason for it. Rather than simply trying to promote a new plan or service, T-Mobile Netherlands is granting all subscribers free unlimited data as a way of advertising the superlative speed of its network. And rather than just telling users about it by touting the numbers returned from the Ookla Speedtest, T-Mobile is using an innovative experiential approach, encouraging users to really put the network through it paces, no holds barred, for one day.

As for the facts themselves, T-Mobile Netherlands was ranked as the fastest mobile network in the country in the latest results from a test conducted by U.S.-based web service Ookla. T-Mobile registered the highest download and upload speeds in the study, which was based on over 454,000 tests conducted in the Netherlands in Q2 and Q3 this year (The tests rely on consumers measuring their network speeds from an app on their phones.) T-Mobile’s total speed score was 63.77, with an average download speed of 69.96 Mbps and an average upload speed of 17.08 Mbps. KPN ranked second with a speed score of 4.55, Tele2 was at third 42.68 and Vodafone came last with a score of 33.67. Not only was T-Mobile well ahead of its rivals in the Dutch market, but results published in August by Ookla show that its network is the second-fastest in the entire world, after Norway’s Telenor.

Now, this is all quite impressive, and T-Mobile has every right to be proud of its network. We think that offering all users to experience the way that network performs when asked to handle very large amounts of data is an excellent way of demonstrating its capabilities. One desired result of the unlimited-data day would be for those users who are on lower-allowance plans to upgrade to higher-data plans. Related to that, prepaid users could decide to go postpaid. And, of course, aside from the idea of switching plans, all users could potentially be impressed by the data speeds they experience, and that would tend to boost up customer loyalty and satisfaction.

One caveat, though, is that the unlimited-data giveaway would be even more effective if it could be experienced by all Dutch smartphone users, not just T-Mobile’s customers. If the operator is trumpeting the results of this test, which names it as having a network significantly faster than those of its rivals, a chance to sample it could cause many people to switch over to T-Mobile. If it were possible for an operator that can boast better speeds than its competitors to do this, it could be a “killer app” in terms of customer acquisition.

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, November 20, 2018

Sunrise Launches Youth Initiative

Swiss operator Sunrise has launched a program called Sunrise Young Voices, in order to focus more strongly on the youth demographic. The Sunrise Young campaign was developed by people under 30—both inside and outside the company—and focuses on zero-rated social media and streaming services.

The new youth-oriented products are offered within the operator’s Freedom Young Swiss Data and Sunrise One Young Light packages. Existing Sunrise Freedom Young subscriptions will gain some new features without price increases. Along with unlimited LTE+ data at speeds up to 700 Mbps for CHF 45.00 (US $44.61) a month, as before, starting on 19 November it will have  unlimited WhatsApp data in Switzerland is being supplemented by unlimited roaming data for WhatsApp. The zero-rating of data applies to text, image and video files, as well as to audio. WhatsApp VoIP, however, is not included. A similar arrangement applies to Snapchat.

Sunrise One Young Light offers unlimited internet and a mobile subscription at home, as well as unlimited surfing, messaging, YouTube, and apps while on the go, all for CHF 99.00 (US $98.15) a month, and always with the highest possible connection speed. The Forever Young guarantee from Sunrise allows customers to keep their Young subscription after they turn 30, at the same price and with all the benefits offered by a Young subscription.

Sunrise Freedom Young campaign was developed by young people and trainees at Sunrise. The main actors in the campaign are young people from Switzerland between 16 and 25. The smartphone youth study marks the start of a more intense focus by Sunrise on the under-30 segment. In the future, a team of young people and teenagers known as Sunrise Young Voices will help Sunrise gain a more extensive insight into the digital lifestyles of people under 30, as well as the things that are generally important to them. Sunrise Young Voices will meet regularly with Sunrise representatives, including top management.

The importance of the youth demographic for mobile operators cannot be overstated. Youth (variously defined, but under 30 is a reliable metric) is a window in which life choices about brand loyalty are determined, and operators need to take advantage of that fact by gaining customers at that age. And in order to win them over, operators need to understand the usage patterns and cultural preferences that are characteristic of the demographic.

Studying the demographic from a distance is no substitute for directly engaging with young users themselves, and we think that Sunrise’s proactive approach of recruiting people within the company and even from outside it, to work on a task force, is an excellent one.

Recognizing that young users are more data-oriented than older ones, and that they rely heavily on portals such as WhatsApp and Snapchat is important, of course, but an operator in today’s competitive markets will have to move beyond simply zero-rating data on certain apps or even making sure that plan prices for youth are kept low enough for their budgets. Operators will have to show a sensitivity to youths’ tastes, usage habits and cultural proclivities in order to win and keep their business. They have to design advertising and marketing campaigns that are tailored to youths, and they will have to make it possible to subscribe in ways that are maximally seamless in terms of the ways youths tend to access services. In short, setting up a program such as Sunrise Young Voices is an excellent move, particularly for operators that to date have not made an aggressive attempt to design packages exclusively for the under-30 demographic.

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 14, 2018

Zain Kuwait Partners with Restaurant App

Operator Zain Kuwait has announced an agreement with Bildarb, a mobile app for making restaurant table reservations and for placing orders with restaurants. Zain will offer customers who use the app exclusive discounts of up to 35 percent. Bildarb offers table bookings, immediate seating, advance ordering and payment before arrival. It also offers the ability to split a bill among diners, locations and directions to restaurants without the need for other apps and a function for inviting family and friends to meals.

Through its partnership with Bildarb, Zain offers its customers and staff the following discounts at specific restaurants in Kuwait: 35 percent from Bruce and Clark, 20 percent from Freshii, 5 percent from Prime and Toast, 5 percent from Wasabi, 5 percent from Pizzetta, 10 percent from Bonchon Chicken, 10 percent from The Kitchen, 10 percent from Chubby Balls, 10 percent from Humble Burgers, 10 percent from Proper Sliders, and 10 percent from Junkyard.

Partnerships with smartphone apps, as we have written on a number of occasions, can be a fruitful way for operators to offer diversified services to their subscribers and also to include special, proprietary benefits along with them.

While there are many eating-oriented apps on the market, Bildarb appears to be especially well designed from the point of view of offering value-added services that are of genuine utility and are therefore appropriate for an MNO that seeks to increase its power to attract and retain customers.

Bildarb will likely be particularly useful for Zain’s business customers, given that their reliance on restaurants as venues for meetings and dealmaking. Conversely, it will of course benefit the restaurant business in Kuwait, since it helps restaurateurs expand their customer bases, boost productivity, improve customer service and develop new services. In terms of e-commerce, it also allows them to accept online payments and access statistical reviews through an administration portal. There is potential for Zain to gain new business customers from the ranks of those participating restaurant businesses.

It should be borne in mind that while access to Bildarb is not exclusive to Zain subscribers, the substantial discounts offered to them through the app create an exclusive aspect for the relationship and thereby strengthens the brands of both entities. A considering that food is an important connector between people in virtually all areas of life, a restaurant-based co-branding.

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