Chilean mobile operator WOM has launched its first 4G plans, which will initially available to customers in the cities of Santiago and Vina del Mar. The service runs on the AWS band (1.7–2.1 GHz). Postpaid customers can subscribe to plans starting from 1.5 GB of mobile data per month for CLP 9900 (US $16.56), while prepaid customers will have access to 2 GB of data per month for a minimum top-up of CLP 3000 (US $5.02) per month. In addition, new and existing postpaid customers will be given 10 GB per month over a 10-month period (100 GB in total) on top of their contracted plans. At the launch event in Playa de las Salinas in Vina del March, the operator’s CEO, Chris Bannister, said the operator would continue revolutionizing the local mobile telecom market by rolling out the 4G service throughout the country by the end of the year. WOM has topped Chile’s porting figures since it launched in July, recording the largest monthly net customer gain in the country for the third consecutive month in September.
Ever since it debuted in July 2015, WOM has waged an aggressive campaign to acquire market share in Chile, an effort that has so far proved very successful. WOM has used clever advertising (its name is an acronym that stands for “Word of Mouth”) and cultivated a youth-oriented image. Most importantly, though, it has been offering enticing data packages, a smart approach in this increasingly data-hungry market. In many ways WOM’s strategy and image resemble those of T-Mobile US, whose “Uncarrier” campaign relies on attention-getting marketing and aggressive offers. In the case of WOM, the result has been attracting subscribers away from rival operators: In September, for the third month in a row, the operator largest net monthly customer gain, adding almost 32,871 new users, up from almost 31,992 in August. Competitor Virgin Mobile, by contrast, attracted only 11,193 users in September, while Entel, Movistar and Falabella showed net losses of customers.
Adding 4G/LTE is the next step for WOM, a step it must take in order to be fully competitive, so rolling out the service in the capital city and in one other market makes perfect sense. In line with its policy to date, the operator is giving away a huge amount of free 4G data—10 GB per month for 10 months—which should have the effect of jump-starting the high-speed service in terms of uptake. In addition, the included data in the plans is competitively priced. WOM has strength in its network holdings, inherited from predecessor company Nextel Chile, and is clearly bent on using it. We believe the current 4G/LTE strategy is a very good one.