Greek operator Wind Hellas has launched prepaid add-ons that let users continue to communicate even when they do not have enough existing credit to activate a bundle. Depending on what add on they try to activate,end-users receive a recommendation to activate one of four “F2G Pay Later”add-ons comprising either 40 all-net minutes, 100 on-net minutes and 100 on-net SMS, 100 MB of data, or 20 all-net SMS. Each of these add-ons costs €1.01 (US$1.12). The cost of the add-on is not immediately deducted from the user’s balance but instead is deducted during their next top-up, at no extra charge. In order to be able to use the F2G Pay Later service, however, end-users must have topped up with over €5.00 (US $5.53) at least once in the last 30 days, have paid off any other outstanding SOS Recharge or Pay Later service they have already activated, and have a balance of at least €0.01 (US $0.01).
When a prepaid balance runs out and a customer lacks the financial resources (whether cash or credit) to top up at that time, the general rule is that they are unable to use their mobile services. This can be very discouraging and bad for both parties. The customer’s disappointment and frustration may be strong enough to affect his or her allegiance to the operator. For the operator, the interruption of service constitutes an interruption of a revenue stream. So it is in the operator’s interest to go to some lengths to maintain the service. In this case, Wind Hellas is offering an add-on program to keep connectivity going, and interestingly, these add-ons constitute a sort of postpaid arrangement. F2G Pay Later, aptly so-called, allows customers to essentially post pay for a prepaid service, albeit in exceptional cases. We believe that these inexpensive add-ons (which are essentially interest-free loans) are a good move for Wind because they will keep users connected, not only to their families and friends but to the operator. In addition, the offering of four different top-up options is appropriate in light of the fact that today’s trend among most users is toward more diversity of offerings and more flexibility.