Vodafone Germany is offering a free gaming pass to subscribers of Young tariffs that were introduced in 2017, but subscribers of Young tariffs that debuted in 2016 will be charged €5.00 per month for the pass, as will subscribers to the operator’s Red tariffs from 2016 and 2017 and the Red + Allnet and Red + Data tariffs, according to a report. The pass provides zero-rating data for gaming.
The gaming pass is not available with the Red XL, Young XXL and Red + Kids options. It has a one-month minimum term, cannot be swapped with other passes and can only be used in Germany.
Vodafone has the right to offer its pass for EU roaming with a limit of 5 GB of data per month. The games currently available with the option for Android and iOS are Asphalt 9, Legends, Clash of Clans, Clash Royale, Dead Rivals, Elvenar, Forge of Empires, Hay Day, Pokemon GO and Warlords of Aternum.
As we have written in this space on a number of occasions, mobile online gaming has become a major sector of the mobile market, and since the increasingly rich-featured games consume very large amounts of data, they are a lucrative revenue opportunity for mobile operators as well as for game designers.
Targeted zero-rating of data has proved time and again to be a very reliable way of stimulating usage of mobile services. The strategy of encouraging greater usage by not charging and then imposing a charge once users have become habituated to higher levels of data consumption is tried and true, and widely implemented in markets where net-neutrality regulations do not stand in their way.
Promoting gaming usage on tariffs that are targeted to young users is particularly appropriate, given that gaming appeal especially, if not entirely, to this demographic. Vodafone’s Young suite of plans was introduced in 2016 for users aged 18 to 28 and includes flexibility and various discounted bundles—again, features that are particularly valuable to the youth demographic.
As to why the operator has chosen not to offer the free gaming pass to those who joined in 2016, it is possible that Vodafone feels that customers of longer standing are less likely to leave the operator and therefore do not need to be prioritized for retention-oriented marketing efforts. The fact that the offer is also not available to customers of other tariffs that are not in the Young group is explainable in terms of demographic preferences, with these other subscribers presumably much less likely to be interested in gaming. Nonetheless, anyone who is not a Young 2017 subscriber and is interested in gaming can still receive gaming data at a very low price, just €5.00, so the promotion reaches farther than it might at first appear.