We even had internet service provider Africom offer its own social media package. It seems everyone wanted to cash in on the popularity of Facebook and social media by packaging it separately.
No that this a problem though. As long as it provides subscribers with value (network neutrality be damned) and fits the market there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be introduced. It’s not novelty that pays after all; just look at the success of EcoCash.
What caught my attention though is how Econet has come back with a promotion that combines the Opera Mini Bundle with the WhatsApp bundle. If cases of bundle services on the continent are anything to go by, this looks like the first of many bundle shuffles/combinations that will be tried in the short to medium term.
So why now? Have the Opera Mini bundles been a dud? Is this a desire to inspire us with another promo better than Scratch and Win?
Actually, at 95 cents for 3 day access its easy to assume that the Opera Mini bundle hasn’t been so popular because of it’s price. A 30 day access to Opera Mini costs $9.50 which would still require an additional $3 for Facebook (which is not supported on Opera Mini) and another $3 for WhatsApp bundles.
From that perspective this promo and bundle combo then looks like an attempt to add steam to the Opera Mini bundles by pairing them with the already popular WhatsApp bundles.
By riding on the coattails of the very popular WhatsApp, the Opera Mini bundle just might gain enough acceptance which helps draw subscribers to the data efficient browser. There’s also the opportunity to boost ARPU from subscribers that already burden the network with occasional downloads through Opera Mini (yes you can do that apparently).
But all this is a lot, if not too much effort to create profitable browser habits which end up bringing into play the debate on net neutrality.
The question is if subscribers are already committing to so much internet usage, why not just create broadband packages that are not service specific and price them appropriately? Let the subscriber decide what they want to do with their internet.
Perhaps the plan is to wait until POTRAZ gazettes the new broadband tariffs? (highly unlikely) Or maybe its not even on any mobile network’s horizon. After all, If a system is making a profit why remove it anyway.
Whatever it is, some subscribers just don’t want to be forced into these bundles or services and there should be more to internet for them or any other subscriber than these specific product packages.