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Competition Is Sweet - Per Minute Billing Isn't.

Last night Digicel made it's move in response to LIME's onslaught against mobile rates. Digicel reduced it's on-net rate to $2.89, 10 cents lower than LIME's and matched LIME's cross-net rate of $6.99. The fierce competition between these two rivals is refreshing. In no other market do you see as much competition, and to such high levels of intensity, as you find in the telecommunication sector. Keep fighting guys! Each round is a win for the Jamaican consumer.
 
Now while these two giants duke it out, let's try not to get caught up in the marketing. At the end of the day, they are both companies which are out to get more money from our wallets. Ultimately, any move should have the end result of increasing revenues and stacking up profits for shareholders. This may mean giving something with one hand, and taking something back with the other hand, while you're distracted.
 
When LIME introduced their new rates, conspicuously absent were the 'XL' free minutes and free text promotions which predate the new package. Picking up on this exception, Digicel was keen to keep their 'Gimme 5' promotions in place with the introduction of their new package. However, the promotional goodies were significantly slashed. Both companies have reminded the public that nothing comes for free.
 
Something which is also significant about the new package from Digicel is the reversion to per minute billing. This is the most egregious of the recent changes with insidious consequences. A move from per second billing back to per minute billing will see an increase in the cost of the brief, and arguably most common types of calls. I can just imagine some business analyst spending the week crunching numbers, trying to find out how to reduce rates while keeping revenues the same. The solution - take away per second billing. There is no indication from LIME as to whether they have also reverted to per minute billing, but I wouldn't be surprised if they have.
 
Combine per minute billing with the recent emphasis on long calls - talk for X minutes and get the next XX free - and these phone companies are most likely pulling more out of the pockets of the public than their new rates belie. Competition is sweet, but let's not get lost in the tactics and fail to see the raw truths behind the marketing.
 
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