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.