Time to reward postpaid users with unlimited data

  • Telcos
  • Wednesday, 22 Jul 2020

For now, U Mobile and Digi are the only celcos offering stand-alone unlimited postpaid data plans, AmInvestment Research said

PETALING JAYA: It’s about time that mobile operators in the country turn their focus on rewarding postpaid users with unlimited data usage.

Postpaid users are often loyal and stick to the same provider for years. They only move if service levels and quality drop drastically. Their benefit is they pay after using the services while prepaid users pay upfront.

But it is the prepaid users that get more benefits and better pricing, and unlimited data is the new trend in this segment.

The price war is about which operator can offer more and provide unlimited data to prepaid users. This turf was once controlled by the three big players but the emergence of U Mobile had shaken things up.

Of course, some players may argue that they are indeed offering more data for the same price to postpaid users. Some may even claim they are offering unlimited plans but in reality, most come with capped speeds.

Given the “new normal now’’, people are more price conscious and want more for every ringgit spent.

AmInvestment Research said it expected the players to introduce unlimited data plans for the postpaid segment. Otherwise, its existing customers could migrate to the lower priced prepaid segment, it said.

For now, U Mobile and Digi are the only celcos offering stand-alone unlimited postpaid data plans, it said.

U Mobile’s GX50 postpaid plan offers unlimited data and calls plus 5GB of hotspot sharing at a discounted RM40 per month, down from RM50 per month.

Digi offered its Infinite online plan with unlimited data at speeds up to 10Mbps and calls at RM100 per month while Unifi Mobile is priced at RM99 per month, AmInvestment said.

The prepaid industry has seen the launch of unlimited prepaid passes at RM35 per month and with speed caps at 3Mbps from Maxis Bhd and Celcom Axiata Bhd last month.

Maxis recently raised data allocation for its users but it is still not unlimited. It also bundled its home fibre services two years ago by offering postpaid with unlimited data starting from RM98 per month. Celcom has yet to offer any unlimited postpaid plans, the report said.

The question is not about bundling and putting a cap but it is about unlimited data with no caps. “We await postpaid packages being launched by Maxis and Celcom over the next few months in tandem with the escalating cellular wars which will constrain any increase in average revenue per user (ARPU), ’’ AmInvestment said.

Putting caps to data usage may not interest users who want a faster and better overall experience. It is unlimited data with no caps that will make them switch operators.

Kenanga Research in a recent report noted that the space for unlimited Internet was previously monopolised by U-Mobile, slicing some market share from the Big-3 (Maxis, Celcom and Digi) players.

It will now be interesting to see if consumers are willing to return to the incumbents, given the competitive market shift, and whether this could derail the migration from prepaid-to-postpaid. Its success, on the other hand, could be at the expense of even further ARPU dilution.

“We could be looking at a tilt in market share to the most proactive and consumer-centric provider, ’’ it added.

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