ELSON: Slashing prices is the most inefficient method a business can adopt to stay viable, unless you’re clearing old stock to introduce new and improved products. Companies can afford to charge higher prices if their products, or service offerings, are better – people will pay more if they want your stuff, it’s that simple.
To slash prices like our local telcos have done or are planning to do with the entry of MyRepublic into the market shows that people wouldn’t pay the exorbitant prices which our conventional telcos have been charging because they didn’t have a choice. Not to mention, the whole telco industry, up until now, reeks of price-fixing, further denying consumers a way out. Until now.
Let’s look at SingTel, our biggest of the big telco.
First SingTel cut its data bundle from 12GB to 2GB in 2012. That move was very likely because it couldn’t keep up with the data consumption habits of subscribers. It said the cut was implemented because it was launching its 4G service. and didn’t want subscribers overloading the network.
Then, if you recall, SingTel tried to take out Whatsapp a couple of years back. The company’s CEO, speaking in Barcelona at the world’s biggest mobile trade fair, urged regulators to allow telcos to charge companies that provided services like Whatsapp and Skype for using the operators’ networks. Ms Chua had to back down and clarify that it wouldn’t be charging customers to use those services, after much, much anger online.
With that failing, SingTel tried to take on Whatsapp by launching its own chat app, Wavee. That was in 2015 – 4 years after Whatsapp became a commonplace chat tool in Singapore. Too late to the party.
And that’s only SingTel.
MyRepublic hasn’t announced its full price plans yet, but it sure as hell knows what customers want, and intends to give it to them – data. How’s S$8 a month for 2GB of data sound, or S$80 a month for unlimited data? That’s sweet music blaring from whatever handset MyRepublic is using.
Especially, when you look at the prices which the telcos have held us ransom to. That below is from Starhub, by the way.
In the current my-smartphone-is-my-wife environment, and seeing how you can call, video-conference and message using just internet-based apps alone. That’s why MyRepbulic has got the complacent and inefficient telcos trembling.
This is M1’s response – the first telco to shiver and stand down: mySIM+ 15 and mySIM+ 20. For S$15 a month, the mySIM+ 15 plan offers 1GB data, 100 minutes of calls and 600 SMS/MMS. For S$20 a month, mySIM+ 20 offers 4GB data, 150 minutes of calls and 800 SMS/MMS.
Let’s see what SingTel and Starhub have in store.
A price war is great for consumers – now we’re getting our bums patted and and keeping our wallets padded. The most important thing is we pay a fair price for services. If our local telcos had bothered to innovate instead of dream up more expensive price schemes and create new useful products instead of trying to take away products we already use, they wouldn’t be paying the price now.