What’s with the “me too” mobile offers?

Its always interesting to see how ALL of Kenya’s four mobile networks regularly seem to adopt a “me too” strategy for their various special services. Often, these are price-driven offers that generally serve to grow customer base or service utilization for a limited period of time before reverting to regular pricing. This was definitely the case over the past couple of years when we even saw free (or near free) voice calls on some the mobile networks for a limited period of time as they competed. However, these strategies tend to be unsustainable as they erode revenues and raise marketing costs.

In the latest version of the “me too” mobile offers, Safaricom is currently running a 7 day unlimited internet offer. The way it works is that you top-up Kes. 1,000.00 for 7 days of unlimited internet access on their network. This is a really good offer since Safaricom is more or less regarded as having the fastest and most widespread internet access in Kenya via their 3G broadband service. However, on their standard prepaid bundles, Safaricom is actually one of the most expensive internet services in the marketplace. Sadly the Safaricom 7 day unlimited offer will come to an end and some friends of mine will stop relentlessly downloading gigabytes of movies and music!

So, here comes the kicker. In the news this week, Orange has also just launched a “me too” 7 day unlimited internet service for the slightly lower rate of Kes. 990.00 to compete with Safaricom’s offer. The only aspect of creativity to the Orange offer is that its Kes. 10.00 cheaper. Now, I have been using Orange’s 3G+ service for the last couple of weeks and its pretty fast but I am a little upset that I just topped up Kes. 1,000.00 just before the offer was announced. This means I get 550MB of data maximum compared to potentially gigabytes of data over the next week or so.

Quite honestly, I am little surprised that Orange would go almost exactly the same route as Safaricom! I think they could have done things a little differently and strategically to their advantage. Its time for them to look at alternative and more creative ways of differentiation instead of copying the “next guy”. I, for instance, would have suggested an offer such as double or triple data for the same price which would reach ALL their subscribers including those who cannot afford Kes. 1,000.00 for 7 days unlimited internet. They could add extras that could be converted to voice minutes or sms. Whatever the case, there is definitely room for more experimentation, creativity and innovation where mobile network offers are concerned.

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  1. February 19, 2010 at 9:05 am — Reply

    Its the India strategies of .99 differences, the truth is that we are still getting a row deal with the internet connectivity. Speeds are supposed to increase and prices reduce, this is not happening. I thought safaricom should be offering a totally unlimited service by now. These offers are supposed to be testing their capacity.
    .-= David Mugo´s last blog ..Kenya Scoops 2 Awards at 15th Annual Global Mobile Awards =-.

  2. February 21, 2010 at 4:19 pm — Reply

    I used the Safaricom unlimited offer about 3 weeks ago. The offer looked good in the first week. I loaded another round which unfortunately I used for one day before I forgot to carry it when I travelled out of town. While out of town I was forced to buy yet another unlimited offer – this time round from Orange and the speeds were fantastic out there. On coming back to town I still had a day left with the safaricom offer and a couple of days with the orange offer. I compared the two, Safaricom’s based on GSM/3G and Orange’s based on CDMA and guess which one I just reloaded? Orange!

    I am suspecting that the reason why this model is being replicated besides testing network capacities is that it is lucrative for the telecoms. We are generally a greedy people wanting everything to ourselves even when we do not need it. In many cases we are not able to optimally use the unlimited offer. The Orange 1GB bundle@KES 1000 is cheaper than the unlimited offer if you do not use over 1GB in the one week offer period. I have suffered this ‘loss’ at least once. (oops sorry Moses for the mini post)
    .-= gmeltdown´s last blog ..M-PESA Fraud – Agents Beware! =-.

    • February 22, 2010 at 1:28 am — Reply

      @gmeltdown. I totally understand your concerns. I am still using Orange and it works just fine for me!

  3. February 25, 2010 at 12:48 pm — Reply

    This ‘me too’ thing is part and parcel of the cutthroat competition in this industry. When running a business, it is even advised to motivate yourself to do your best by assuming that somebody is going to copy your idea
    .-= Mr. Majani´s last blog ..Keep it Real =-.

  4. […] In an earlier post on this blog a couple of months ago, I had expressed my dissatisfaction that all the mobile operators in Kenya seemed to be launching “me too” Internet services in the marketplace which had almost identical features and lacked creativity that was market-driven. Therefore, it came as a pleasant surprise this past week when Zain Kenya launched some new and highly flexible unlimited and limited usage Internet bundles that buck this trend. […]

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