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Mobile plans – choices and a la carte are good for customers

The more I think about it, it is amazing to see how many varieties are offered here in Indonesia for the mobile plan choices. From CDMA to GSM, post-paid and pre-paid, 3G or non 3G, you name it, they have it all. And it is very common here in this country that customers to have more than one mobile devices and more that one services. For each choices and carriers, it has each own strength and weaknesses as far as the service offering goes. Secondly, it allows the customers to take advantage on so many different offers and promotions that each choices has.

In the last couple weeks, due to my plan of relocation from Surabaya to Bali, I was on the hunt for the most cost effective and reliable way to make a lot of phone calls back to the United States. With the choices, I explore from trying to take advantage of the high speed but metered 3G network for using Skype or simply choosing the right long distance plan for the calls. I choose to keep my mobile selection pre-paid. That way there will be no contract and I can switch to any carriers and plans at any time. One carrier offers up to 1000 minutes call to US for merely $15 per month. Another carrier gives me better phone clarity at 3 cents per minute rate (or approximately $3 per hour. I decide to take both options to compliment my day-to-day Skype call via my home DSL line.

We don’t see this kind of varieties and choices in the US. The pre-paid plans offered in the US are so expensive that it doesn’t compete at all to the ones that force you to the long term 2 years contract. This makes the mobile business less competitive in my opinion. The market is no longer has the liberty to choose the best plan and switch to a better plan easily as it becomes available.

Another good example, with the Blackberry services, here in Indonesia, the carriers are very creative. They pretty much have options for just about every variation of BB service that you can think of. you need just BBM and no email, you can have that. You want BBM and Facebook only (Facebook is very popular here), you got it. You pay only a fraction of the normal price for this sub-set selection. This way, the carriers Blackberry plan is able to penetrate to almost any type of users and makes the Blackberry devices to be the number one devices of must-have for everybody.

The same with the data plan. They give you options such as, you want high speed with capped monthly bandwidth or you want unlimited bandwidth but the speed will be reduce after a certain amount of bandwidth usage. You can have daily plan, monthly plan, pay-per-use plan. This is all I think good for us, the customers.

All of these are good for the mobile retail businesses too. This keep the businesses more flu I’d and not static or stagnant. The structure encourages people to keep hunting for bargains, better plans, better services, better offers. Not like in the US, where the carrier store controls the market.

Too bad all these choices here is not backed up with a quality service. That is just due to lack of quality technology infrastructure to begin with.

Well I hope the rest of the worlds adopt more and more choices like this and not the behemoth monopoly service like those we found in the US. With these choices, they make the global communication for travelers and world-mobile-user like me be able to work anywhere I want. That’s what we call a TRUE mobile.

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Filed under: Digital Life

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