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Hello targets quality in crowded market

MOBILE operator Hello is aiming to garner “quality” subscribers in Cambodia’s highly competitive domestic market, according to chief marketing officer Eric Chong.

With nine mobile service operators in the Kingdom, domestic firms are working hard to differentiate themselves to attract customers, said Chong at the launch of Hello’s new US$1 million promotional campaign yesterday in Phnom Penh.

“Everybody’s trying to find a niche,” said Chong. “There are different ways to generate revenue: by [increasing] the number of active subscribers or by [launching] solutions other than voice.”

“The end game is having quality subscribers, not counting active SIM cards,” he said.

He said Hello is providing internet though 3G networks, another method of generating revenue.

Hello has seen revenue and subscribers fall this year amid increasingly competition.

Statistics from the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications showed that the firm saw subscribers drop from 910,077 in March, to 491,146 at the end of June. Hello’s parent firm Axiata has since said it conducted a “cleanup of non-revenue generating” SIM cards during the period. An Axiata report added that Hello’s revenues for quarter two dropped 14 percent compared to the same period of 2009.

The mobile-service provider has now launched a marketing drive, which Chong calls “quite a massive campaign”.

The promotion will see the firm distribute $1 million in prizes to the end of the year, including airtime and some $60,000 in holiday offers. Every time a user spends $2 with Hello, he or she would be automatically entered for prizes.

The campaign falls into line with restrictions imposed by the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in last year’s minimum pricing edict, according to the company, as the restrictions “talk about bonus refills as opposed to contests”.

Rival mobile provider Mfone has been refocusing its strategy in recent months to increasingly target specific market niches.

Earlier this year it launched tariffs aimed at Cambodia’s Korean, Chinese, and Muslim populations, as well as businesspeople travelling in the Mekong region.

Mfone’s parent company Thaicom lost US$3.9 million operating in the Kingdom during the first half of the year, citing a “price war” and “intense competition” as reasons for the loss.

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