Itel.am asked 3 mobile operators in Armenia to comment on the opportunities and current practice in providing tariff plans with unlimited internet for subscribers of mobile connection.
Questions and answers are presented below.
Does your company offer tariff plans with uinlimited internet connection (for example, weekly or monthly packages) to subscribers of mobile connection?
No, currently we don’t have tariff plans with unlimited internet connection, but subscribers, who previously acquired similar packages or activated such services, continue to use them today.
Within the frames of X and Y tariff plans (for respectively AMD 5000 and 2800 monthly payment), the company provides unlimited internet in case of accessing the top 5 apps among users (Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, Zangi), while internet is limited outside these services (respectively to 10GB and 5GB).
Has the company previously had tariff plans with unlimited internet? If yes, please, specify the reason for cancelling the packages.
Yes, we had. We stopped providing those packages to improve the quality of internet for all our subscribers. Only 5% of the subscribers had the opportunity to use the advantages of excellent network in case of unlimited packages. They overloaded the network and other subscribers couldn’t fully use internet services. These changes allowed us to balance internet use for all subscribers to equally use quality internet.
Previously the company provided low-speed unlimited internet, but currently these packages aren’t available, while the customers who have already subscribed continue to use low-speed unlimited internet.
The main reason for this decision was that fact that the network was overloaded and traffic growth was unpredictable due to long and inefficient use.
Ucom has answered this question on many occasions. Taking into consideration current challenges in mobile connection market, the company changed the strategy of providing similar services after acquiring 100% of Orange Armenia’s shares.
If your company doesn’t offer packages with unlimited internet for subscribers of mobile internet, what is the reason for not providing similar services?
Our major goal is to avoid overloaded network by small number of people and provide access to quality high-speed internet for all subscribers.
The company will be able to provide unlimited tariff plans only after a huge technical revamp of its infrastructure and systems, which would allow providing the mentioned plans without significant loss to quality of voice and internet services.
It should be noted that tariffs and terms and conditions for mobile internet services directly depend on peculiarities of broadband internet market in Armenia. In accordance with it, the company applies the approach of predictable traffic.
All subscribers who had unlimited internet continue to use the services included in the tariff plan they subscribed to initially. Ucom has made no changes regarding that situation.
Mobile internet traffic offered in each of the current tariff plans is measured to provide the necessary level of quality. Among the three mobile operators of Armenia, Ucom has made the biggest investment of capital in modernization of the network and improvement of service quality. It should also be noted that contrary to technical capacities of a fixed network, frequencies have limits in mobile network, which can decrease the quality of service. That outcome is obviously undesirable for both the company and the subscribers.
Recent reports claim that the mobile operators’ decision not to provide packages with unlimited internet is a strategy aimed at stifling the growing interest towards social apps and their use among the population. What can you say about it?
As a mobile operator we have only one goal, which is to provide the best services to our customers and secure their ability to use these services in full.
Main social apps (Telegram, WhatsApp, Viber, Messenger, Zangi) are included in our “X” and “Y” tariff plans for unlimited use. We also provide internet packages of 10GB and 5GB for accessing other apps and websites. Additionally, each of six “Viva” tariff plans (Viva 1500, Viva 2500, Viva 3500, Viva 5500, Viva 7500, and Viva 9500) includes a fixed package of internet which also provides enough for an average subscriber to use for social apps.
We consider this conclusion illogical, because the popular OTT solutions and mobile apps don’t require much internet traffic for smooth operation. Moreover, Ucom has adopted a digitization strategy, so we also encourage the interest of subscribers towards apps.