Finnish mobile operator Elisa said it has begun offering affordable 5G voice and broadband subscriptions to consumer and corporate customers. Speeds of up to 1 Gbps are accessible over 5G, with 300 Mbps accessible over 4G as well as 5G.
The Saunalahti Carefree (Huoleton) 5G 300M plan supplies service at up to 300 Mbps with unlimited data in Finland and 20 GB per month for EU roaming. This subscription costs €31.90 (US $35.08) for the first 12 months, rising to €34.90 (US $38.38) beyond the first year. There is a set-up fee of €4.90 (US $5.39) per month.
Saunalahti Carefree 5G 600M provides unlimited domestic internet at up to 600 Mbps and 21 GB monthly for use in the EU. It costs €39.90 (US $43.88) per month for the first year, then €44.90 (US $49.38) per month, with the same set-up fee as the 300M plan.
Saunalahti Carefree 5G 1000M supplies unlimited internet in Finland and 23 GB monthly in the EU at up to 1 Gbps. This costs €49.90 (US $54.88) monthly, with no price change after the first year, and the €4.90 set-up fee.
Elisa is the only operator in Finland to sell 5G phones and subscriptions, the company said. Jan Virkki, senior vice president for personal business, said there are customers who have bought a 5G device from Elisa but not a 5G subscription. He added that the operator has sold thousands of 5G subscriptions and is constantly expanding its 5G network.
While the top speeds and other strengths of 5G networks are exciting to contemplate, uptake of the new technology remains an issue even in the most advanced markets. Elisa should be in an optimal position with its 5G offerings in Finland, given that it seized first-mover advantage and is still the only operator to offer the network service. However, it clearly sees a distinct lack in uptake and finds itself in the strange position of having sold more 5G devices than 5G subscriptions.
Elisa’s solution to the problem now is to motivate customers by lowering the price bar for joining the 5G network, as well as offering large amounts of free EU roaming data. The tiered pricing is structured according to top speeds, with the most expensive option (the 1 Gbps one) being the most economical as well (including no price increase after the first year, unlike the others), as an extra incentive. This concept may well make sense to Elisa’s customers, but there is an inherent inconsistency or cognitive dissonance to it—5G’s main selling point is speed, so why would users choose to increase their mobile spend to get a lower-than-optimal-speed version of 5G? This is especially the case with the lowest-tier Saunalahti Carefree plan, which offers no more speed than is already available via the operator’s 4G/LTE network.
Still, given that Elisa has already invested in a 5G network, and given that some customers were interested enough to purchase a compatible device without also purchasing the service, the operator must do what it can. It seems a fair assumption that overly high prices were the reason why those customers did not subscribe to 5G, although it is also possible that there were other factors, such as lack of understanding or information about the product. Lowering prices is very likely to increase uptake of service, and judging by which tiers prove most popular, the operator will be able to refine its offerings, presumably in a way that does the most to maximize not only traffic on the network but also revenue.