Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Vodafone v Digicel : Its War

Vodafone and Digicel, two mutli-billion dollar telcos are waging war.
Its not the lucrative Indian market or profits to be made in China, no its little ol Fiji.
Yep, Fiji.
Good question.
Everywhere you look, the two rivals are going at it hammer and tongs.
Vodafone's $29 phone and $100 talk time has been met by Digicel's $15 phone with radio. The radio has proved to be quite a hit. The phones they offer are very old models, but hey, a phone is a phone right.
Coming down from Princes Rd in Suva, the french bakery opposite the great big intersection has been painted red by Vodafone. Digicel, not to be outdone , has gone to town in downtown Suva.
In most towns , small phone booth size booths have sell recharge cards. Mobile sellers are in on the act too.
Its on for young and old.
Dont we love competition.
Consumers are the winners here and so it should be.
Its not uncommon in Fiji these days to find 12 yr old kids with their own mobile phones (until credits run out). All these cheap phones have also led to a new problem.
Changing mobile numbers and pest callers.
Its hard keeping track of your friends and relative now. Its an new mobile number every 3 months.
Another problem that the Ambulance service is facing is crank calls.
As everyone knows, once credit runs out, only emergency calls can be made. Bloody kids are using this service to drive the guys at the ambulance service up the walls.
So much so that, the ambulance brigade has banned calls from Digicel phones.
So if you are dying from a hear attack and have nothing but a digicel phone, bro, are you in trouble?  Keep two phones says LF, applying the "outside the box" thinking that we are so fond of here at LF.
On the bright side, People who had to walk for kilometers to find a phone, now call all over the world with their own mobiles.
But still, as everyone knows, mobile phone companies make money from selling recharge cards, not phones. The phones are free. It will be interesting to know how many phones sold over Christmas actually recharge once credits run out.
Fiji is a very small market and these guys are big rollers.
They deal in billions.
Its hard to see how Digicel will recoup its investement in the short to medium term.
LF admits, it doesnt have all the answers. But tell you what, it is a very good question.and no one at LF is complaining if the consumers are winning.


Steve said...

Exactly, theres more to it if u scratch the surface.

h4ck3r said...

check out the latest blog: http://igfiji.blogspot.com/ which makes mincemeat of the SV and RFN sites

Vanessa said...

What do you think? Would anything improve with Digicel moving to Suva now?

One good thing in Digicel's favor is that the high cost Mr. O'Brian was paying his high flyer senior management will dramatically come down with all big shots now living out of Denarau.

That should help get rid of the useless and unethical Digicel Management.