October 2017

The UAE introduces a fourth mobile provider, SWYP.

Source: http://ynflash.com/post/newsevents/did-you-know-there-s-a-fourth-mobile-provider-in-the-uae-

On 7th September 2017 Etisalat, launched a second mobile service — SWYP — introducing a fourth provider to the market. Core to this new brand is a youth-centric strategy, offering discounted rates and packages targeted towards the millennial generation.

Interestingly, the move took place in quick succession after rival operator Du released its own alternative mobile subscription brand ‘Virgin Mobile UAE’.

Until September, options for mobile users in the UAE were limited to Etisalat or Du, with the former retaining a marginal yet consistently higher market share over the latter. Q1 2017 results had the market split with Etisalat claiming 54.6% and Du with the remaining 45.4%.

Both dominating players have taken strategic steps to diversify their customer offerings to inject more dynamism into the UAE mobile market.

SWYP’s pre-paid service is targeted at the youth segment, and is only available to 15-29 year-olds. It offers heavily discounted data plans geared towards the use of social applications such as Snapchat and Instagram, with the option to add bolt-ons for other requirements including general data usage, domestic and internal calls and SMS/MMS.

To further match millennial’s desire for instant connectivity, SWYP follows an app-centric business model. It provides for in-app customer on-boarding and phone number swapping, along with build-as-you-go mobile plan management tools that allow customers to tailor their packages on an ‘as and when’ needs basis.

SWYP also gives users access to its network of WiFi hotspots throughout the city. The service even gives subscribers access to ‘discounts that really matter to you’, ranging from restaurant deals to cinema tickets.

Data, social networks, wifi and movie tickets: everything a young millennial needs to get connected in Dubai.

Virgin Mobile’s plan through du offers similar perks. It also targets a younger audience with tailored mobile plans, though it places no restrictions in terms of age of who can join their network. It also offers the first month free for new customers to trial their service before committing long term.

Both operators have taken a bold step and though it is unclear how the effects of these business strategies will crystallize in the market, they have most certainly opened the gateway for more potential sub-brands that target specific customer groups to enter.

Investing in diversification encourages healthy competition in the market and ultimately benefits the customer with better prices and a greater variety of choice. The implementation of strategic decisions like Etisalat and Du, work in harmony with Smart Dubai to achieve a more connected city with greater, easier access to world-class digital services.