Another week, another 3G network goes live. Oh to be in England in springtime and be able to say those words, or something…
Well, rather, oh to be in Sweden in the last grips of a winter hanging on with the grim determination of your uncle exploiting the free bar at your wedding. But you get the gist.
Here’s how TeliaSonera launched its 3G network this week:
Customers will pay the same for a service no matter which network they connect to. In varying degrees, 3G will be present in 280 out of Sweden’s 290 municipalities. Certain 3G mobile phones wil feature video calling. The price for video calling (for consumers) is SEK 5 per minute, Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 6:00 pm, and half price at other times. The call initiation fee is SEK 0.50.
Services will remain under its TeliaGO banner. Rates for GPRS will be cut by 40-55%. MMS prices were but by 25%, with free MMS at weekends, and from 2 May 2004, on Fridays as well. TeliaSonera’s own research predicts that almost one out of every three managers believes their companies will use 3G services on a daily basis within one year.
Now, you can argue the toss on some of those. If services will cost the same, no matter what network users connect to, is that a clever marketing play, or is it because the operator isn’t confident of being able to offer differing class of service agreements from one network to the other? I mean, especially at a corporate level, if you weren’t able to say “3G will be this much better than 2G and here is the premium you must pay, then why not make it a flat fee and try to extract some goodwill from that. But it’s also a sign that here is another operator keen to give the message that it is selling services, not bit rates.
MMS and sending emails will be cheaper – which could be seen as a result of stiff competition. Or of a desire to stimulate usage on the new network.
But even so, there it is — a 3G launch in a major country, with 280 localities with some level of 3G coverage, with incentives to use the network including flat pricing and price cuts for MMS and other data service usage.
Now, when Dave McGlade told us of the benefits of not being a global group operator last week he was making the case for O2. But this is the kind of thing he was thinking of. This is a national launch, aimed squarely at the needs of the country. And, in the spirit of that uncle at the wedding, go on yersel’, wee man.