UAE operator Etisalat has announced the launch of Nonstop Daily Data Plans for Wasel prepaid customers, giving them a choice of three plans based on speed of data access. The new plans are priced according to speed and not per amount of data used, as in Etisalat’s home internet plans. The plans are: Nonstop Bronze, priced at AED 3.00 (US $0.81) per day for up to 192 Kbps, Nonstop Silver at AED 5.00 (US $1.36) for up to 400 Kbps and Nonstop Gold at AED 10.00 (US $2.72) for full 4G/LTE speed.
We find Etisalat’s three-tiered speed-based pricing system to be innovative and strategic—for the moment. In a market that has not fully adopted 4G/LTE, data speed may very well be the most accurate determinant of value. Many users in the UAE may be content with slower speeds, and of course those who use slower speeds will also tend to consume less data. The pricing scheme is time-stamped, however, in the sense that when high-speed service becomes the norm, the percentage of users who will opt for slower mobile speeds will decline to the vanishing point.