Lycamobile Italia, an MVNO that runs on Vodafone’s 4G/LTE network, has decided to apply discounts of up to 20 percent to users who commit to 3-, 6- or 12-month plans. The offer applies to the Lycamobile Italia 150 Plus, 100 Plus and 40 Plus plans. All come with unlimited calls and SMS, with the Italia 150 Plus plan including 150 GB of data a month for €143.90 (US $171.49) a year, equivalent to €11.99 (US $14.29) a month, which is 20 percent less than the standard monthly price. The 6-month and 3-month contracts are 15 percent and 10 percent less, respectively, than the standard price of €14.99 (US $17.86) a month.
Under the same offer, the Italia 100 Plus (100 GB) and 40 Plus (40 GB) plans cost €115.10 (US $137.17) and €95.90 (US $114.29) for 12 months, equivalent to monthly payments of €9.59 (US $11.43) and €7.99 (US $9.52), respectively.
MVNOs have generally advanced in their markets by targeting budget-oriented, commitment-shy consumers who eschew contracts and prioritize flexibility. Lycamobile, a popular multinational MVNO, has followed this playbook and done well by it. However, its Italian brand appears now to be seeking longer-term relationships with its subscribers and making retention a priority.
By offering significant savings (ranging from 10 percent a month to 20 percent a month) in return for increased longevity, the MVNO is signaling its desire to become more like a conventional operator. Still, true to its origins as a pay-as-you-go service, Lycamobile is presenting its Plus plan discounts as a sort of middle way, with less commitment than a 12- or 24-month conventional contract. By committing to 3 or 6 months, a customer can still get substantial savings. Of course, the 12-month option is the best deal, so those who opt for it will end up being on the equivalent of a standard contract.
The new plan structure blurs the boundary somewhat between prepaid and postpaid service. The prices are relatively low and the data offerings generous, so they may well generate significant interest among subscribers.