Within 10 days of introducing unlimited on-net calls within a group of five users, Orange Slovakia gained 100,000 customers for the service, which became the most successful new product ever launched in the history of Slovak mobile market. To be eligible for the service, customers must have a minimum monthly expenditure of €20.00 (US $27.22). If they do, they will automatically be given the opportunity to make four of their contacts available for unlimited free calls within the group. A group can be designated via SMS, via the mobile app Orange Go, on the operator’s website, through the customer-service hotline, or at Orange sales points.
We think this idea is an excellent one, and a reminder that even in today’s jaded, saturated marketplace, and even with a basic, supposedly unexciting service such as voice calling, a major impact can be made if an operator tailors an offering very directly to the tastes and usage patterns of its subscribers. It may seem elementary that consumers spend most of their voice minutes talking to the same few people, but apparently, until now, no other operators in this market have taken this behavior seriously as the basis for an offering. Sometimes, a simple idea can be the best one.
It should be noted that since this is an unlimited calling plan without an additional subscription fee, it will not directly generate revenue for Orange. However, it provides the operator with three benefits: First, it tends to maximize the use of network capacity. Second, it stands to significantly increase the customer base over time, if some of the contacts that customers wish to add are not currently Orange subscribers. Third, given its huge popularity, we expect that the service will boost customer retention, if the operator keeps it in place over the long term. While we do not know for sure whether other markets would show as much enthusiasm for group calling as Slovakia has, we think it is likely that many would. And we think it is certain that knowing one’s subscribers well is still the key to success in the mobile marketplace.