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Straight Talk Consumer and Entertainment Services

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Emerging market telcos are leading the way in LTE tariff innovation. That is one of the key takes from Ovum's new Innovative Mobile Broadband Pricing Strategies: 2020 report. Russian telco Tele2's Exchange online service, where users can sell unused data, is the standout LTE tariff innovation. While there is no direct monetization for Tele2, sellers have to spend any money earned from the transactions within the firm. In the first month, Tele2 claimed 2.5 million buyers and sellers, with one petabyte of data sold (albeit at the low-end price range). Meanwhile, Philippines operator Smart has extended its free daily YouTube hour to prepaid users across all brands. YouTube is streamed at 720p and limited to 1GB in the hour. Smart claimed three million new YouTube users in 3Q19 and a 57% ARPU uplift per promotional user. In Indonesia, XL has unlimited YouTube from 1:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m., but caps usage between 5–35GB outside these times, depending on the prepaid offer. Globacom in Nigeria includes 2.5GB free YouTube between 1:00 a.m. and 5:30 a.m. With these offers, telcos aim to create daily or regular video viewing habits on the network rather than over Wi-Fi.

Globally, mobile bundling innovation included new OTT services (such as TikTok, Xbox Live, Uber, and Grab) being added to 4G prepaid and postpaid plans (see Figure 1).

Figure 1: Telcos bundle new services such as Amazon Prime, TikTok, and Booking.comTelcos bundle new services such as Amazon Prime TikTok and Bookingcom

Source: Ovum Broadband Pricing and Interactive Tracker: 2019

 

Both emerging and developed markets are bundling Amazon Prime, sometimes in the same country. Meanwhile, a new bundling theme in emerging markets is around mapping (e.g., Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps). Megafon in Russia bundles maps alongside Dropbox, iCloud, and Google Mail, as well as Booking.com and Aviasales. In Mexico and Indonesia, Uber and Grab make an appearance. Indosat caps its OTT data usage at 10GB, but most OTT services are zero-rated (usage not counted toward data allowance). In developed markets, TikTok features in Softbank Japan's plans, while Xbox Live and LinkedIn are offered by TIM Italy and Saudi Arabia's STC, respectively.

With 5G, the most-common bundled 5G rich services are cloud gaming, VR, and AR. But let's not get too carried away as an industry with potential ARPU gains – yet. The vast majority of operators have not bundled 5G rich services to help drive upselling; the good news is that more souped-up services are coming in 2020 for 5G. We recommend that tier-1 operators join the new battleground and partner with the best-in-breed cloud gaming companies, VR and AR firms, and livestreaming sports rights holders. To delay puts operators at the risk of losing the best 5G rich content to competitors.

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