Trilemma of Telco Premiumization in pandemic period
21 January 2021 - Telcos in the Asia region have been quick and responsive in offering relevant services to subscribers who are staying at home, working from home (WFH) and to support the lower in group customer segments during the COVID-19 pandemic period. At the same instance, telcos are striking the balance to remain competitive.
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Asian telcos prompt use cases response to COVID-19 pandemic
COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in three (3) emerging customer segments namely Frontliners & Medical Professionals, WFH Community and Students & Teachers. Seven (7) telco use cases categories have been identified in the market namely Free Data, Extra Quota, Discounts, COVID-19 Awareness & Information Dissemination, Subscriber Benefits, E-learning and Repackaged Plans.
The coming of these use cases are closely knitted to the Cause (of COVID-19 pandemic) and Effect (on shift to new offerings).
The region response from Governments, consumers and telcos
Across the Asian region, Governments have responded with setting up COVID-19 portals, introducing telco regulations to ease burden on utilities expenses, implementing contract tracing app and promoting E-learning support to schools and university.
Consumer response on utility are increased data consumption, changes in subscriber counts in mobile data (MD) and fixed broadband (FBB), heightened broadband usage and shift towards ‘essential only’ spending behaviour on telecom services for both telecoms (i.e. infrastructure investment and operating expenses) and consumer (i.e. services that matters).
The economic impact was caused by unemployment, reduced income, lower projected GDP and remittances. This has greatly affected the telco network effect as growth in overall bandwidth demand, network quality and user experience decline and delay in 5G rollout are witnessed.
Telcos’ trilemma on premiumization
Premiumization in FMCG is raising price with perceived value that customers are willing to pay. Generally, there are 6 paths to premiumization such as providing a safer, more innovative, a better experience, easier to be used, social image and more exclusive product or services.
Trilemma on premiumization by telco is to ascertain measures and maintain equilibrium by providing good Quality of Services (QOS), offering an affordable Price, and increasing its market Share to remain competitive in their respective countries market.
The Malaysia market is dominated by Maxis having ranked first for all the 3 measures as the largest market share (28%), QOS and mobile data price at USD 1.21 per GB that is lower than the Industry Average (IA) at USD 1.33 per GB.
In the Indonesian market, Telkomsel having ranked first for both measures as the largest market share (61%) and QOS. However, Telkomsel ranked 3 in mobile data price at USD 0.61 per Gigabyte (GB) that is higher than the Industry Average (IA) at USD 0.41 per GB.
In Singapore, Singtel ranked first for as the largest market share (50%) and second in QOS but ranked the third in mobile data price at USD 1.63 per GB that is higher than the Industry Average (IA) at USD 1.22 per GB.