Saturday, 30 September 2017

bmobile-Vodafone, Digicel or Telikom: Is it time to switch? 5 Low-Cost Data Bundles and Packaged Plans You Should Know

This post compares the low-cost data bundles and packaged plans (data, voice calls and SMS) from the three telecommunication companies (telcos) in PNG: bmobile-Vodafone, Digicel PNG, and Telikom PNG. As a matter of discloser, the post is solely an independent review; focusing on disseminating consumer information. It is an unbiased analysis based on personal experience, research and customer care enquiries. Any errors are subjected to correction. So, do leave a comment below.


Placing value on the low cost data bundles and plans

One factor needed considering when analysing low-cost products is money. On one hand, the telcos want to make more money. On the other hand, they know that they don’t make enough money with the low-cost products. The dilemma here is that most customers, especially rural population and low to middle income earners, prefer the cheaper data bundles (and plans) to the expensive ones. That is why the low-cost products are the most popular products. However, the three telcos will have to sell more of the low cost products in less time to make enough money, a balancing act.

Data Bundles – K3, K5 and K10

Identifying the value in the data bundles is fairly easy. Yet many customers failed to use the low-cost data bundle because they do not know it exists. In fact, there is a better data bundle on offer.

From the table, Telikom PNG came out on top. Telikom PNG offers a whopping 100 MB for 5 days at only K3.00. Furthermore, the 200 MB for 3 days and 400 MB for 14 days are *3 times more data* compared to what Digicel PNG and bmobile-Vodafone are offering. This is unbeatable value at the moment! 


 Telikom PNG offers more data 

Data, Voice Calls and SMS Plans - K3, K5 and K7

Subscribing to a plan is the best way to get value for money. Ideally, you get all the three bundles (data, voice call and SMS) in a plan when you buy a subscription.

One way to untangle the value is to compare the popular – most often used - plans. Examples of the plans can be found in Digicel PNG 1Tok Combo (*675#) or bmobile-Vodafone Moa Pack (*777#) or Telikom PNG passes (*777#). Below is the comparison of the three telcos 1-day and 1-week plans, the popular plans.


Click on the image to enlarge


Highlights

1. Bmobile-vodafone offers more SMS compared to Telikom PNG K3 day pass and K9 week pass; it's a shame bmobile-Vodafone does not offer data with the K3 day plan; Digicel PNG 1-day plan starts at K5, that is K2 more than the day subscriptions offered by bemobile-Vodafone and Telikom PNG.
2. Telikom PNG also gives you 50 MB and 150 MB *nighttime data at K3 and K9, respectively. You get 100 MB and 300 MB in total.
3. Digicel PNG gives you ‘a lot to eat in less time’ but does not allow you to make FREE OFF-NET calls. Take a look at why they do that in the ensuing discussion.

Discussion 

Though bmobile-Vodafone offers more SMS compared to Telikom PNG, no data with the K3 day pass (Moa Pack Day) repels many customers. So when it comes to data, bmobile-Vodafone is *not* an attractive choice. Also, bmobile-Vodafone cannot pride itself on cheap voice calls anymore. There is an option for cheaper voice calls with Telikom PNG. Perhaps it is important that bmobile-Vodafone offers a competitive packaged data in its popular Moa Pack Plans to compete with Telikom PNG and Digicel PNG. Or else bmobile-Vodafone will continue to be the last choice for the low cost, popular, plans.

It is noteworthy to realise that Digicel does not give you *free* off-net calls with any of their 1-Tok Combo Plans. If you want to call subscribers from other network, you’ll have to pay a higher price. In hindsight, tech insiders think that Digicel would be reluctant to give free off-net calls to bmobile-Vodafone or Telikom PNG subscribers. This is competition and Digicel will preserve its competitive edge - keep the wide rural and urban coverage to itself. In fact, Digicel marketing plans are strategic but simple: it gives you more but limits the usage time (validity). In other words it makes more money in very little time. Clever business strategy to keep its loyal customers and also generate money quickly. On the contrary, it can be difficult to attract new subscribers because, potentially, customers can choose off-net calls cheaply from the other two networks.

Telikom PNG has made a huge leap since February 2017 at the back of the announced merger with bmobile-Vodafone, though the merge is not happening yet. It will take a few years to fully combine the expertise and resources of the two government entities, and to realise profitability. 

Meanwhile, Telikom PNG and bmobile-Vodafone’s voice calls and SMS offers (in the popular plans) are fairly similar, notably the voice calls. As mentioned earlier, bmobile-Vodafone has to come up with a *significant* popular plan to stay competitive. 

Make no mistake, Telikom PNG offers better data bundle and data in plans as well as voice calls. Telikom PNG is giving Digicel PNG the run-for-its-money too; and reasonably the customers' choice for cheaper data, voice calls and SMS plans. Dial *777# for more info regarding Telikom PNG voice calls in the plans. 

In closure, since 2007 Digicel PNG changes the way Papua New Guineans communicate with each other. It still is a favoured telco in the country due to its wide coverage. Digicel is here to stay for the next 10 years and beyond. bmobile-Vodafone has to offer its subscribers a significant product to be competitive. The partnership with Vodafone gave it the much needed *oxygen*. Today it needs another major CPR. As for the low-cost and popular data bundles and subscription plans Telikom PNG offers the better value. Going forward what the telecommunication market needs is aggressive competition, consistency and expansion of coverage.

*Note that the popular subscription charges do change. Dial respective codes (see the source code in the table) to get the latest prices.

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