Now here is something that I can happily extend kudos to. This is a small lesson in good strategy.
Telecom companies are running commoditized businesses these days. So locking in the most volumes in the shortest amount of time is the key to success.
So, what do you do if you are a telecom operator and you find that some upcoming competitors have technology that can help them roll out networks faster and cheaper than you?
If your target market for rollout is the vast rural landscape of the country, what do you do if you know that the total cost of implementing your technology for network rollout is higher than the competition, and will probably take longer to actually do so with a traditional approach? What do you do considering also that in your target markets, the comparative value of your brand is only nominal
Answer : You focus on the edge (well atleast to a basic extent)
1. Take out all traditional costs from your rollout plan, by engaging the people at the very edge of the network. Considering the market is rural people, give them a direct financial incentive to consider your products.
In case of Mobilink, convince the people at the edges of the network to operate their own self-serving calling facility.
Results: Your total spend on marketing and sales for the edge would be next to nothing compared to returns. You could get a free slew of micro-franchises with people constantly promoting the usage of your services within communities of trust
2. Adopt a “minimum deterrance” strategy for technology roadmap to make the rollout costs comparable with competitors.
Rather than marketing micro-service plans (i.e. individual cell-phones), offer single products for communities themselves. If a village of 15 houses can share a single connection, so be it.
In case of Mobilink, positioning the product as a PCO rather than an individual connection.
Results: They only need to support one-to-two channels per 15 or so houses. This requires a lot less infrastructure to cover large areas, and the network can be rolled out very rapidly
3. Open up the revenue model based on the value of the money at the edge
Rs.1000-2000 may not mean much at all in cities, but it is significant money elsewhere.
People within the rural target market will be willing to pay premium for phone facilities, but their premium will still be insignificant perhaps to the telecom operator itself.
However, it will still be significant to the people at the edge.
So, you open up your revenue model and make the people part of your risks / rewards structure. They promote and sell your services, and operate your products responsibly. They are able to keep the small premium that the other people in those micro-communities are wiling to pay.
Sharing revenue with these people could perhaps be the best marketing tool for the target customers.
4. Take the right message to customers
Take time and care to understand exactly what would actually peak the interest of your customers from an advertisement.
It is not a jingle, not some silly demonstration of heroics or dominance — it is a human-to-human message about a better life.
The story should clearly describe the business case to the edge. The story should touch on the emotional undertones of a better life. The store should be clear and straight — in fact, it would be more of a sales call than a marketing one.
In short, you would do what Mobilink did. Its a great ad for the product and strategy.