Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Mooo....said the subscriber

Three of my favourite bloggers have posted statements about quality, pricing and what the telco's need to do about it.

I particularly like Martin's phrase of Telco 2.0 and what this means for the current cash-cow approach that the average Telco 1.0 operator sees as their subscriber base.

Look back at Singlepoint (a Caudwell company). They set themselves up as an MVNO with a main differentiator being cost. Buy the MOU's from T-Mobile at a discount and sell cheaper than the original MNO. They then sold the shop to Vodafone for a huge profit. The main revenue stream for them wasn't voice or line rental but handset insurance.

Now look at the present situation here in Thailand. With increasingly poor first time connection success and diminishing completed call success across networks (interconnwhat?) and a similar story within the Number 1 mobile operator, AIS, when subscribers on the same network can't connect. The frustration is starting to build within the user base.

The main operator complains that this is due to the call patterns of the users that have changed due to the price war that is in full flow between the three main players.

But what is happening? what is AIS particularly doing about the QoS issue. Very little, in fact they count their billions of Baht in revenue gleaned from monthly charges and the international roamers that pay a 28 - 33% premium for the privilege (over and above the 1600 Baht deposit supported by passport, work permit and 6 months bank statements) and do nothing to invest in more interconnect infrastructure or discount the monthly fee for inconvenience of having a phone but not being able to use it most of the time.

Just say moo and eat some more grass!.....

As Paul suggests, maybe the time has come for free On-Net calls. More and more operators are offering packages that get existing members to attract their friends, family and colleagues onto the network. Piggy back the discounts and bonus schemes with free On-Net calling and you would see a mass exodus to the network.

Then what is the real differentiator, Customer Service. I know of at least one MVNO that is looking to compete on it's brand that is basically year-on-year winner of subscriber voted best customer service.

All the pieces are on the board it's just time to make the first move.

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