Mon, Dec 29, 2008 - Page 12 News List

Telecoms need to offer variety: group

CUSTOMIZED PLANS Market Intelligence Center said that operators need to work on providing differentiating proprietary digital services in addition to a number of others

BY Elizabeth Tchii  /  STAFF REPORTER

Market Intelligence Center (MIC,資訊市場情報中心), an Information and Communication Technologies industry and market research firm, forecasts that next year local telecom operators will need to go beyond providing simple fixed cellphone plans and customize plans for consumer needs in addition to offering various electronic goods and perks in order to attract new users and retain old ones.

Strategies of “bundle plans,” “NT$0 promotions” and “plan customization” implemented in the second half of this year to gain precious market share in the premium user segment will no longer be sufficient, the Taipei-based research group said in a report yesterday.

“Bundle plans” are packages that combine cellphone devices with operator plans, whereas “NT$0 promotions” are no-money-down devices, in lieu of higher monthly fees. “Plan customization” means more flexible plans.

MIC warned that currently the island’s data services currently accounts for roughly only 10 percent of the its total mobile revenues, hence when existing users renew their contracts, operators need to bear in mind that not every user will be willing to shell out additional money for a new phone or jump immediately onto its 3G network.

Therefore, offering other consumer electronics such as digital cameras, Sony Corp’s PlayStation 3, or Nintendo Co’s Wii might be a more attractive alternative to these users, as they renew their plans, MIC said.

With the furor created by Chunghuwa Telecom Co’s (中華電信) Apple Inc iPhones release in December, Research In Motion Ltd’s upcoming Storm release is bound to add fuel to an existing high-end touchscreen smartphone competition, MIC said.

The research house predicts smartphone battle will be in full rage during Chinese Lunar Year on Jan. 26, as local telecom operators fight to increase data plan revenues by rolling out new high-end models.

Carriers are typically more willing to provide large subsidies on high-end phones in order to increase its high margin 3G data services sales. Despite the focus on obtaining rights to sell brand name smartphones in Taiwan, MIC said that operators need to work on providing differentiating proprietary digital services as well.

As mobile 3G penetration increases, netbooks and other mobile Internet devices (MID) will add a stable revenue stream to carriers, therefore MIC expects to see more intense collaboration between mobile Internet devices (MID) manufacturers and operators this year.

Conversely 2G cellphones and simple cellphone plans are becoming carriers’ low margin businesses and consumers should expect further decreases in subsidies for these 2G devices, MIC said.

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