Changing its Internet strategy, Uninor has decided to shift from volume based Internet offerings (MB and GB offerings) to service based Internet offerings (Facebook and Whatsapp). This will change the way in which Uninor offers Internet to its 33 million current and all future subscribers.
“We are moving out of data and moving in to Internet. Internet is the way in which customers consume data and our approach will be to make that usage the cheapest among all operators,” said Morten Karlsen Sorby, nominated CEO of Uninor.
Sabse Sasta Facebook and Sabse Sasta Whatsapp – 50 p for an hour of FB, Rs. 1 for a day of Whatsapp
50% of India’s mobile Internet users are active on Facebook and Whatsapp. Uninor has launched the new Internet strategy with two flagship products with Facebook and Whatsapp.
Termed Sabse Sasta (most affordable) Facebook and Sabse Sasta (most affordable) Whatsapp, the products will allow subscribers unlimited access to these services at one fixed charge for a period ranging from 1 hour to 1 month. With just a one-time charge, subscribers can use Facebook and Whatsapp for the duration of the period without worrying about MBs and GBs.
“These plans are a great way to discover Facebook and stay connected with friends and family without worrying about data charges on Uninor.” said Kevin D’souza, Head of Growth and Mobile Partnerships, Facebook India. “In Uninor, we have a partner that has the vision and desire to make the Internet affordable and we are excited to help connect the world with them.”
“Selling Internet as rupees per MB is like selling air or train tickets as rupees per kilometre. What customers do with Internet is to use it for services like Facebook or Whatsapp. Our plan is to make these services the cheapest on Uninor,” said Sorby. “For us, internet will always be about affordability and relevance.”
Launch starting from Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa – in all circles within one month
The launch of the new Internet strategy, together with the flagship products on Facebook and Whatsapp is starting today at Gujarat and then at Maharashtra and Goa. These are also the two circles where Uninor has seen the highest Internet consumption over the past year. In Gujarat, Uninor’s Internet revenue has grown by an impressive 88% in 2013. In Maharashtra, every fourth Uninor subscriber is an active Internet user.
Over the next few months, these new offerings will be made available across each of Uninor’s operational circles.
Results from global partnerships with Facebook and Whatsapp
Telenor Group has taken up an Internet for All strategy across its business units worldwide. As a part of this strategy Telenor Group is focusing its efforts towards bringing affordable Internet within easy reach of its customers world over. Today’s launch and, infact, the change in Uninor’s Internet strategy, results from a global partnership by Facebook and Whatsapp with Telenor Group. The partnership allows the business units, such as Uninor, to create dedicated products with Facebook and Whatsapp, provide better than market tariffs for these services, share customer usage trends and co-market the offering.
“For us to deliver hourly, daily, weekly and monthly offerings for unlimited Facebook at a single fixed charge, Uninor has had to map as many as 10 distinct entry points through which a subscriber enters Facebook. Each has been mapped and integrated into the system such that the subscribers get these cheapest tariffs, no matter how they enter Facebook. This extensive work took over 2 months with teams from Uninor and Facebook working together,” said Amaresh Kumar, Chief Product Officer of Uninor who is also leading the company’s new strategy towards Internet.
Complete revamp of technology
While the front end of the new Internet strategy is about the flagship Sabse Sasta Facebook and Sabse Sasta Whatsapp products, Uninor has also started a major upgradation of technology and infrastructure to get the network ready for the expected surge in Internet traffic.
The capacity expansion project includes enhancement of packet core nodes, creation of dedicated resources only for these services and enhancing transmission and compression mechanisms. With these, and other measures, Uninor network infrastructure will be able to support two times the Internet demand than what it is today.
Ramping up sales and customer service set up
Uninor is also about to conclude an internal project to make the sales, distribution and customer service functions ready for the expected increase in Internet usage by subscribers. Towards this Uninor will set up stand-alone Internet service kiosks in each of its exclusive retail outlets, recruit additional resources at its customer service facilities and conduct internet specific training for all service agents.
While Uninor will continue to offer attractive tariffs on Internet, the focus will now move entirely to ‘service based offerings’ from the ‘unit or volume based offerings”. With this strategy in place, Uninor is aiming at doubling its Internet revenue and doubling of Internet penetration in 2014.
“We have chosen to move away from the 2G, 3G and 4G discussions and also from the per GB and per MB model. Our customers use services like Facebook and Whatsapp and they expect their experience on these to be of good quality at affordable prices,” said Sorby. “This is a natural extension of our mass market strategy – best in basic services with the lowest tariffs.”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines