Italian MVNO 1Mobile, also operating under the brand name Carrefour UnoMobile, has announced the launch of an unlimited data plan on Vodafone’s 4G/LTE network whose price is reduced after the first three months. The operator’s new Giga Unlimited Reward plan comes with unlimited data, but no calls or SMS, for €16.99 (US $19.26) a month, going down to €14.99 (US $16.99) after three months. Activation fees are €3.00 (US $3.40) until 31 July (€8.00, or US $9.07, thereafter) while SIM cards cost €10.00 (US $11.34) including tracked delivery.
SMS cost 9 eurocents, and for voice calls users can choose to pay 9 eurocents a minute (plus 20 eurocents for the call setup) under the default plan or 18 eurocents a minute with no call setup under the 1Mobile Senza Scatto plan.
We draw attention to this simple MVNO offering because of the way its promotional discount is structured. Under the conventional approach, users get a discount up front, as an incentive to sign up for the service. Relying on the general principle that people think in the present rather than the future, operators entice them with a low price, with the proviso that it will be raised after a certain introductory period. If the users are satisfied with the service, goes the reasoning, they will stay with it despite the higher cost.
This logic does tend to work well with postpaid plans that have commitments; however, when it comes to prepaid plans with budget MVNOs, the operators struggle more to keep subscribers in a market space with no commitment and plenty of competing offers. So, in this case, 1Mobile sees the wisdom in making the discount contingent on staying with the operator for a certain period of time. Those customers who show some staying power in treating the MVNO as a company with which they would like a longer-term relationship will get the reward. We think this is a savvy strategy for budget virtual operators and perhaps in general for prepaid plans.
We should point out that this plan is also noteworthy for being unlimited with regard to data only, while calls and SMS are charged for. This is likely appealing to younger users who use voice less than their elders and rely on OTT apps for texting.