We have thoroughly discussed PTCL on G&W including its notorious Pakistan Package, among other things. The same package has become a source of steady income for the telecom old daddy, G&W has learnt. The reason for this apparent profitability was the huge response from the housewives segment who were craving for almost free calls to their near and dear ones.
This segment, which obviously represents a sizable chunk of Pakistani populace, is benefiting from this package and so is the company. After doing a little survey of this trend, I came to know that at least one out of three middle and upper middle class Pakistani households is using this facility and mind you that number runs into millions. The ladies’ natural urge for gossiping has led to the success of this seemingly weird/failed scheme. During my research, many housewives even complained of the reduced minutes in the package (There are 2,500 minutes/month now instead of the initial 5,000 minutes). They think that their monthly bills have seen a surge as they cross that limit quite often. One of my aunts now literally keep a track of the daily minutes (around 83.33 minutes/per day) and religiously follow this quota.
The crux of the matter is that if you can appeal to this segment of our society then you can get good revenues. Cellular companies did try to come up with packages targeting the ladies and housewives segment but they failed to deliver. Mobilink launched Jazz Ladies First package with Rs. 5/hour call rates (after 11 pm, while the day charges were at par with the normal rates). They also had on offer ‘value added services’ like recipes and diet tips etc. Warid recently launched ‘Baaton ki Committee” with Bushra Ansari as its brand ambassador which also failed to get any positive response.
The reason behind their failure is the cost factor. Housewives can’t afford to gossip late at night and want minimal call rates throughout the day hours. They also don’t need costly SMS about recipes and beauty/health tips as ample stuff is readily available on the idiot box. They just need hours and hours of free talking. If these companies can come up with competitive rates then they can get some revenues but is it that easy? Frankly, that’s not as the cellular operators can’t afford offering Rs 0.06/minute call rates. Landline rules supreme in this case.