Tunisian mobile operator Tunisie Telecom has launched a prepaid range under a new brand with its own distinct identity, in a bid to attract young mobile users. Named Po9, this new addition features a logo inspired by the phonetic sound of social media alerts. The Po9 range currently offers three data-focused plans, all offered with a data bonus as an incentive. The entry-level tariff is priced TND 1.00 (US $0.35) and includes 150 MB available for 24 hours. Valid for 30 days, the other two plans are priced TND 5.00 (US $1.73) and TND 25.00 (US $8.66) for an allowance of 800 MB and 25 GB, respectively, with calls charged on a pay-as-you-go basis.
The Po9 range gives customers the opportunity to earn vouchers via a refer-a-friend scheme. The operator has already partnered with e-commerce portal Merkado to support this program, and similar sites are expected to join the initiative in the future.
New sign-ups have the option of ordering a SIM online or buying it at a Tunisie Telecom point of sale. They can then manage their account via the dedicated Po9 app, where up to TND 60.00 (US $20.79) worth of vouchers can be stored from the refer-a-friend promotion.
Ever since traditional MNOs began to be challenged by upstart budget MVNOs with niche target markets, many have responded by launching budget sub-brands of their own. To recoup lost market share, the major operators in markets worldwide have essentially imitated the MVNOs in hopes of beating them at their own game or at least establishing a beachhead in the market sector occupied by the virtual operators. This strategy has proved viable and worthy of replication. In order for it to work well, it is best for the MNO to differentiate its offering by marketing it not under its own name but under a new one, a separate brand that can develop its own identity.
With its new prepaid range, Tunisie Telecom has taken exactly this approach. With three separate plans, Po9 acts like an operator of its own, and its branding is distinct from that of the parent company. Po9 has several features that are typical of the emerging sub-brands: It is youth-oriented, data-intensive, and community-focused. Since the youth market is strong and particularly desirable for operators (in that consumption habits set up in youth are durable in the long term), young users are the most frequently targeted demographic for such branded offers. They are a good fit—youth are budget-minded and yet want to consume large amounts of data for the communication and entertainment applications they favor. And they can, in future, be converted into higher-end users who will be loyal to the operator.
Po9 has a number of features that appear to be appropriately tailored for the youth demographic. The pricing is favorably low and also flexible; in addition to two normal tiers differentiated by amount of data, there is a one-day option that allows the user to sample the service or simply use data only as needed. The pay-as-you-go pricing of voice calls answers similar needs. SIMs can be easily purchased, and users can save money by bringing their own device. And finally, the communitarian aspect comes in via the refer-a-friend promotion, which promotes and profits from an overlap between social life and customer acquisition.
Even the choice of a brand name is appropriately youth-focused, in that the “sound of social media alerts” is one that will be familiar and reinforcing for the potential subscribers to Po9, who are likely heavy users of various social media platforms.