Bulgarian mobile phone carriers tweak tariffs to lure clients

Bulgarian mobile phone carriers tweak tariffs to lure clients

Bulgarian mobile operators will bank on juicy rates and bundles tailored to clients' needs to woo more customers and larger market shares as the low summer season draws to an end and competition intensifies, Dnevnik learned on August 30. Vivacom's package Free gives clients the option to "put together" own tariffs using 18 previously set "pieces", including pre-paid calls, texts and mobile internet. Clients are only required to bundle at least two pieces such as calls within Vivacom's network and unlimited-speed internet traffic. Thus, customers can pick their own monthly rates on the basis of usage and can change the parameters of the bundle at any time. The package costs between 3.90 leva and 59.40 leva and includes 1800 call minutes and 1800 texts within Vivacom's network, 60 minutes and 120 text messages to rival mobile networks, one gigabyte of mobile internet and 50 call minutes to EU numbers.The other members of the mobile trio, M-Tel and Globul, offer versions of "flat" rates, charging customers fixed monthly rates for bundles of calls within their networks or calls to other operator's landline or mobile networks.M-Tel's ACTIVE and ACTIVE+ rates bundle 200 and 600 call minutes a month, respectively, the company said in a statement. In addition, clients can opt for unlimited calls to a "favourite" number plus 200 free texts to the same number. The offer runs from September 1 till October 9 and costs 0.10 leva for one megabyte of mobile Internet and 0.29 leva for calls after the expiry of the pre-paid package. The text costs 0.14 leva.Globul launched a similar flat rate dubbed Universe in March, offering clients between 100 and 500 call minutes a month at prices ranging between 13.90 leva and 39.90 leva. The package includes calls to all networks in Bulgaria, incoming and outgoing calls in roaming within the EU, as well as calls to fixed-line numbers in most European countries, Israel, Japan and calls to mobile and fixed-line networks in US, Canada and Russia. However, roaming and outgoing calls to foreign numbers cannot exceed 20% of the pre-paid minutes, the operator said. The new tariffs are part of the ongoing redistribution of the mobile telecom market, which saw M-Tel losing market share to 50% at the expense of Vivacom, whose client numbers rose to close to two million. Globul, in turn, has retained its slice of the market. The constant fight for new clients is harder, given the high mobile market penetration rate of more than 140 per cent, or 10 million mobile numbers, according to Communications Regulation Commission (CRC) data.With the more flexible rates, mobile phone carriers are also trying to address dwindling average income per user, with income from voice services dropping more than 11 per cent last year, according to CRC data. The three mobile operators are also adding new services and diversifying bundles to cope with the falling mobile telephony segment, which shed 7.7 per cent in 2010. (Source: The Sofia Echo)

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