Monday, August 21, 2017

Ooredoo lowers calling costs but denies price war

From 12:01am yesterday, Ooredoo Myanmar began charging customers K20 a minute to make calls – a price below what has been the lowest price of K25 a minute.

A lady in red promotes the 'Red' plan.Photo:SuppliedA lady in red promotes the 'Red' plan.Photo:Supplied

The Qatari telco’s new “Red” promotion, which public and community relations senior manager Ma Thiri Kyar Nyo called a New Year’s present, rolled out yesterday.

With the campaign, Ooredoo Myanmar is K5 below Telenor’s price and K15 below state–owned telco MPT’s Swe Thahar plan. Telenor charges K25 and Swe Thahar costs K35 per minute for making calls respectively.

“We think introducing ‘Red’, which brings the lowest call price in the market ... is very responsive to your feedback, but it’s also extremely innovative,” said Ooredoo Myanmar CEO Ross Cormack at the April 1 press conference. The move aims at taking advantage of consumers’ sensitivity to prices, though one of its rivals had previously said they were keen to avoid a price war.

At an early 2015 meeting of senior officials from MPT, they said the firm had misgivings on cutting prices too deeply to compete, adding concerns that if the firm enters a price war, it would not be able to invest in expansion and new services.

However, Mr Cormack said Myanmar is decidedly “not heading toward a pricing war”. 

“I think what we’ve been very proud to say from the beginning is we respond to people’s needs. They like the K20 price and we’re selling that at the K500 base per month, but we’re letting everybody try that for free,” he said. “This is what people tell us they would like. But the whole point is to create affordable services in an innovative way.”

From April 2 until the end of this month, customers can sign up for the new Ooredoo prices without subscription costs. After 15 days, users that stick with the plan will begin paying K500 for 30 days of reduced-rate calling. Those that sign up starting in May will pay K500 upfront.

To sign up for the promotion, users can send “Red” to 5555. 

Ooredoo Myanmar announced the new deal at a press conference at Kandawgyi Palace Hotel in Yangon. Branding at the event featured a bright red parrot, a campaign mascot due to its chattiness, according to Ma Thiri Kyar Nyo.

Mr Cormack said by the end of this year Ooredoo Myanmar would cover more than three quarters – 75.5 percent – of Myanmar’s population. 

“We’re building fast,” he said.