Telenor Myanmar has launched a new range of packages in partnership with the Internet Service Provider MyanmarNet.
These packages called A-wa-thone Data allow the customers to benefit from both Telenor 4G mobile data and Myanmarnet Wifi hotspot network in Yangon and Mandalay.
‘A-wa-thone Data’ plans come in tree flavor: 300MB for 3 days, 500MB for 7 days and 2GB for 1 month.
Telenor customers who subscribe to these plans can easily switch over to Wifi once they walk into Myanmarnet coverage. The technology used to achieve Wifi Offload is called EAP-SIM. With EAP-SIM, the customer handset seamlessly registers to the Wifi network, as all required authentication information is taken directly from the SIM card.
With this new partnership, Telenor offers a unique value proposition in the market: the flexibility to switch between high speed 4G Internet on a volume-based scheme and unlimited Internet at a lower rate of 512 kbps.
This offer can be definitely convenient for customers that rely only on mobile broadband for their Internet needs which is the norm currently in Myanmar.
Price-wise, it is interesting to see how these packages stand compared to the respective Internet plans of Telenor and MyanmarNet.
A-wa-thone Data vs Telenor Data Suboo
Telenor prepaid data plans are called Data Suboo. The monthly packages scale from 500MB to 11GB with an average price per GB at Ks 1,600.
A-wa-thone Data plans are much more expensive with an average price per GB at Ks 3200.
To put it simple: the 2GB A-wa-thone Data plan is priced at 6,999Ks which is comparable to the 4GB Suboo pack (6,450Ks). Does it really worth it?
A-wa-thone Data vs MyanmarNet A-wa-thone
Myanmarnet already has a product called A-wa-thone which is purely prepaid and allow customers to directly login to MyanmarNet Wifi network via a simple login/password combination.
The standard monthly plan is priced at Ks 5000 and will give customers 150MB full speed every day which fallback to a 500kbps plan after. This is very comparable to the new deal for a lower rate (Telenor A-wa-thone Data: Ks 6,999 for 2GB).
As we can see, the value of these new packs are arguable and it will definitely depend on the customer needs and how they manage to get the best out of A-wa-thone Data.
When two companies decide to pool their strengths together, it is rarely a win-win deal and there is always one company that take the best of it.
As for A-wa-thone Data, we strongly believe the big winner is Telenor and here is why
To assess the product value, we need to sit in customer shoes. On a co-branded product like A-wa-thone Data, there are different perspectives that should be analyzed.
First, both Telenor and Myanmarnet are looking at the same objectives: conversion, upsell and anti churn.
From a Telenor subscriber standpoint which use mobile data as a unique mean to access the Internet, this new offer can be appealing. It will give the subscriber an opportunity to offload some of its internet activity without extra charges. Still, the 500 kbps speed offered on Myanmarnet is much lower than the average 4G speed on Telenor (60 times lower according to Opensignal!!). Good enough to run system updates but probably too low for streaming and gaming.
In a nutshell, it is more likely that the offer will bring a lot of low-value traffic to Myanmarnet network. Knowing that Myanmarnet is already quite congested and facing a wave of negative comments on the social networks, not sure that this new deal will improve the service provider popularity.
From a Myanmarnet subscriber standpoint, this new offer will give them a better taste of high speed 4G. Telenor like MPT and Ooredoo have recently upgraded their 4G networks and offer Internet speed among the highest’s in the world.
More worrying for Myanmarnet, the offer can only be subscribed using a Telenor SIM card. A Myanmarnet customer that wish to use this new offer will have to turn first to Telenor and use Telenor as a single point of purchase. Telenor win a customer, Myanmarnet lose the direct link with the customer and benefit from a revenue share instead.
One step closer to the churn
Telenor has definitely closed a good deal with this new partnership. It gives the mobile operator the opportunity to offload all the “trash” traffic to Wifi without spending a dime. A-wa-thone Data is in addition a good conversion opportunity as the offer is only available via Telenor network.
For Myanmarnet, the upsides are less visible. First, we are quite concerned by the service quality which has already degraded significantly over the past few months as the provider is victim of its success. The new deal will definitely attract new customers to the network that may use it to offload all their system updates and low-key internet activities. Plus, they will never be a Myanmarnet customer as they only transact with Telenor. As such, up-sell opportunities for Myanmarnet will be limited. Not a great way to value its network, not a great way to gain customer loyalty.
From a technical perspective, there is a huge gap of performance between the two networks. Telenor like every operator in the market has never been so FAST. The mobile operator recently announced an historical speed of 1gbps on 4G which prove that the Norwegian telco is not done with the upgrades and the quality will continuously improved.
In the other hand, Myanmarnet faces heavy quality issue and it is less likely to see improvement any time soon as the technology is not scalable. By partnering on a cobranded offer, Myanmarnet gives the stick to be beaten as customers are likely going to compare the two networks. Not flattering for the Internet service provider.
Herbert is a nom de plume.
I am an experienced telecom professional blogging about the fastest growing Internet market in the world: Myanmar.