UAE operator Etisalat has announced the launch of new postpaid plans under the moniker of Freedom. Customers can choose a no-contract plan or a one-year contract plan. Data and voice allowances will be the same on both plans, but the one-year contract offers savings up to 20 percent on their rental charges and six months of free access to Apple Music.
Customers can choose from six tiers starting from AED 100 (US $27.22) for the Freedom Plan 100, which offers 2 GB of data and 100 flexible minutes or 200 local minutes. The Freedom Plan 275 includes 20 GB and 750 flexible minutes or 1,500 local minutes, while the Freedom Plan 1000 offers 100 GB of data and 2,000 flexible minutes or 4,000 local minutes. All the Freedom plans come with 100 free Wi-Fi hours each month, which customers can use at more than 350 locations in the UAE.
One of the signal trends in the worldwide mobile markets that we have observed is the strong increase in desire for plan-feature flexibility among many levels of consumers. Budget operators and large operators’ budget tariffs have been leading this trend, with no-contract plans and prepaid offers dominating.
Here we see a major operator catering to this need, clearly announcing its approach in the very name of the plans—Freedom. The fact that these are postpaid plans indicates that this emphasis on flexibility and freedom is now very relevant in the postpaid sector, not just the prepaid. This flexibility is expressed in the relatively intricately tiered plan structure, which provides different levels of data and voice calibrated to usage levels. It is also apparent from the fact that voice allowances are convertible between local minutes and flexible minutes, again catering to users’ various needs.
Finally, although Freedom is a postpaid option, the plans can be subscribed to in contracted and no-contract forms, without any disadvantage in terms of basic plan features. This is a significant fact in light of the traditional conception of a postpaid plan. Etisalat is depending on the Apple Music service and a price reduction to attract user to the one-year (note, not two-year) contract versions, but it is clearly aware that freedom from contractual obligations will be a major element of the concept of “freedom” for many customers.