Partial Executive Summary
Mobily is a Saudi Arabian internet and a telecom service provider that is operating as a private company. Its main internet products rely on mobile broadband and fixed broadband technologies. The company uses fibre optic technology as last mile connectivity to homes and business or institutions. It faces an increasing need to shape its service provision to match changing consumer trends and customer expectations for minimal service thresholds. With a market share of 40 per cent, the company is looking towards increasing this size and to upgrade the service uptake by its core customers significantly.
These developments should lead to considerable increases in revenue per user, which will allow the company to grow in profitability without having to rely much on an increase in actual customer numbers. The industry is crowded, with competitors offering similar services and enjoying adequate market attention similar to Mobily. In the end, it is the mission statement of the company that is going to allow the company to achieve fast growth by the end of its financial year, working recently to exceed expectations and past achievements.
Mobily is a fast growing internet service provider (ISP) in Saudi Arabia, handling clients in both retail and wholesale forms. It deals with national institutions, private businesses, and individuals requiring internet and related telecom services. Consumers are changing their expectations for service delivery and they are facing few restrictions for switching internet service providers.
At the same time, internet reselling services are making consumers get more internet options without finding out the main supplier. A lot of consumer relationship data that can go towards improving service delivery is not being captured because of a number of things. Many of the factors causing the situation are unknown or untested and they will need to be tackled for Mobily to optimize its service delivery strategy within its market (Mobily 2014).
Mobily knows a great deal about the market. It is already embracing segmentation strategies to satisfy its most prized customers. The company will be using this information to ensure that its customers with particular needs are catered for adequately through appropriate communication and service delivery strategies. Young people are some of the most active mobile broadband users in the Kingdom.
SMEs are the highest numbers of users of fixed broadband services. At the same time, within the two major services, key segment differences are in the data demand per month. Light users in both fixed and mobile broadband form one segment, while heavy users looking for high speed and affordable mega data plans form another segment. Most of the market is aware of the importance and the existence of internet services provided by Mobily and its competitors.
The Saudi Arabian market needs dedicated internet access. Customers are looking for a reliable ISP that can guarantee uptime of internet service throughout. They want the experience of dealing with the company to be seamless and hassle-free. The market is also looking for custom internet solutions that can help leverage on the existing core practices and competitive advantages of businesses and institutions.
Other than internet access, consumers are also increasing their reselling business and they demand internet as a wholesale package from service providers. Many consumers are accessing the Internet on mobile devices. As a result, they are looking for flexible internet options that do not limit their use geographically. With this in mind, Wi-Fi and traditional cell phone networks are popular forms of internet access in Saudi Arabia.
Mobily provides mainly 3G and 4G network connectivity for internet access to its customers. The company also has limited Wi-Fi access points in some busy locations in the country. Other than having internet, consumers also demand adequate hardware to deliver the full capabilities of the internet they buy from Mobily. They need reliable routers, models, and other gadgets used to deliver the service. In extension, customers are looking for reliable infrastructure so that they do not have to face outages that are unplanned for.
Saudi Arabia has a population of 30 million people and its per capita income is about $22,750. The country had 13 million internet users by 2011 and the number is growing. It also has fixed broadband customers that number more than 2.2 million. In comparison, there are more than 56 million cellular phones operating in the country. This is the number used to estimate the potential growth for internet services. Mobily commands 40 per cent of the Saudi Arabia market share. Mobily has been growing at more than 100 percent annually in its mobile broadband subscribers (QFS Arabia 2013).
Growth prospects lay in machine to machine (M2M) internet connectivity that could be useful for utilities, health, and connected vehicle solutions. There are more than 800,000 small and medium enterprises operating in the Kingdom, which constitute 90 percent of the economic workforce. They offer a key demand segment for enterprise internet services.
- The provision of Wi-Fi and routers for home connectivity gives customers options on last mile connectivity. It enriches their experience of the internet services from Mobily. It allows them to use the Internet in any part of their home, regardless of their main connectivity option.
- The online self-care option allows savvy consumers to bypass the need to communicate with customer care representatives or have a technician show up at their premises, which can take a number of days.
- The option to choose between fixed broadband, which has more capacity for the same price segment, or the mobile broadband, which offers similar speed and location flexibility, is good (Kowalkowski, Kindström & Brehmer 2011). The options give customers more than one way of experiencing Mobily services to serve similar needs in their internet connectivity because internet is homologous in itself.
- Customers are sometimes misled to pick the wrong services for their needs due to too many bundle internet options with different features and key attraction (Berman 2005). This ends up being frustrating to them as end users. It can cause customers to form the wrong impression not because the services are bad, but due to the fact that the particular service fit to their needs was wrong.
- Although the company provides permanent offers for some of its internet service packages, it may face a need to alter the characteristic of these packages in the future. It will be forced to violate its market promise, if the updated services have some negative attributes to customers, such as an increase in cost per usage or introduction of limits. Such events would cause customer distaste that can erode major customer relationship gains.
- There is no real differentiation that can cushion Mobily against competitors onslaught, given that the competitors offer similar services to customers and target the same customer segments. Consequently, the company has to keep on modifying its offers to act as a market leader and to counter offers of the competitors. Unfortunately, such as strategy can introduce unplanned costs of marketing, which would then erode financial gains made previously.
- SMEs are embracing more ways to engage with customers using internet based solutions, such as social networks and smartphone applications. The growth of these features will automatically lead to an increase in internet demand. This will be a good time for Mobily to upscale its subscribers to increase revenue per users. The company has adequate capacity of internet infrastructure technology that can cater for significant up-scaling of its customers. Therefore, it will not suffer service outages or situations where demand exceeds supply and cause slowdowns.
- The increase in the presence of open Wi-Fi networks in most popular urban spaces is causing many internet subscribers to reduce their demand for mobile broadband. Rather than rely on internet services provided by Mobily, they can simply plan their days to allow them free internet access at restaurants, in school compounds, in buses, and even at home where someone else is paying for the internet (Liu, Chintagunta & Zhu 2010). The erosion of a demand for internet services from a critical base of young internet users is a threat to Mobily. The company has to keep on looking for solutions that will lock in these consumers and prompt them to keep on buying mobile broadband internet bundles from the company (Smith 2003).
- Privacy issues and laws when enacted can limit the amount of internet usage data that Mobily collects for the purpose of improving its services.
The key competitors are other telecom companies that also offer cellular internet services. Many already run 3.5G networks (HSPA) and are either implementing or planning to implement 4G networks. These companies are also increasing their sales of data-only SIM cards that allow consumers to access internet services only. Zain and the government owned STC are the main competitors, providing almost similar services to those offered by Mobily. The differentiating factor is in the packaging and customer engagement (Chopra & Lariviere 2005). Each company also tries to lock in customers by bundling internet and non-internet services together (Frow, Ngo & Payne 2014).
Mobily offers internet services under two main products. It provides a fibre optic technology connection to physical premises. It also offers wireless cellular internet through its 4G and 3G network. While these are just the backbone technologies enabling service delivery, the main product packages that consumers interact with and actually buy are the eLife Connect and the Mobily Connect. They represent fibre optic and cellular internet options respectively.
The company also uses its website as an information portal to inform customers about the features of its available services and the nature of its business so that they are able to troubleshoot problems (Meijer 2011). The information and self-help sections, such as the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), provide a two way simplified communication system to capture key requests and concerns of customers. At the same time, they offer timely mass responses that enhance customer service experience (Lagrosen 2005).
Keys to Success
Having a world class 4G LTE network, excellent customer support services, and adequate advertising presence in the region is important for continued growth (Iyer & Padmanabhan 2006).
Critical issues for Mobily include the connection process for new customers to the eLife Connect service. Service reliability of both eLife Connect and Mobily Connect is also salient for continued growth of the company. The company has to ensure its internet experience for its more than 8.7 million customers remains tolerable. Customers have a service expectation (Parasuraman, Zeithaml & Berry 1985; Berman, 2005), and the company has peak offerings that exceed customer expectation. However, service delivery remains within the tolerable range in terms of internet speeds and network availability most of the time (Lovelock & Wirtz 2011).
The important thing about the marketing strategy is the focus on internet speed and user experience. Users generally do not notice variations in speed, unless they are undertaking heavy internet usage activities. However, they quickly notice the absence of network coverage or fluctuating network coverage. Mobily can cover the entire Saudi market needs because it offers both fixed broadband and mobile broadband internet solutions. The company understands the uniqueness of each market segment in terms of internet demand. Thus, it uses this as the basis for coverage and pricing. It also deploys technologies with regard to customer expectations for each segment.
Mobily’s mission is to provide high speed internet services to consumers for them to enjoy uninterrupted and experience rich entertainment, business, education, and communication. We aim to exceed the expectations of our employees. We also aim for the same achievement for our customers, which we do by ensuring we operate at our best potential. Leveraging our capabilities is our key to success.
The first objective is to maintain a strong growth momentum, until the attainment of market saturation. The company has to aim to increase its subscriber numbers annually to ensure it grows its market share beyond the present 40 per cent. A second objective is to reduce customer acquisition costs by a percentage point every half year. Thirdly, the growth momentum should be sustained by the existing consumer upgrade of their services into most prized segments. This calls for an increase in the amount of usage data collection and other consumer attributes, with an added key indicator included every quarter.
An additional goal is to make Mobily the primary gateway for consumer access to popular internet services, which entails being the preferred partner for major social network companies and internet related service providers in Saudi Arabia. It calls for the signup of at least two major providers annually, which should translate to better visibility of Mobily, and increase in customer interaction, and enhanced customer experience through the supplementary services that add to the core internet experience provided by Mobily (Anderson & Narus 1995).
The first objective is to reduce the average costs of maintaining the internet service provision network by increasing capacity and sign up to benefit from economies of scale. Here, the goal is to increase signups to reach at least 80 per cent of installed capacity. A second objective is to increase the revenue per user for internet services to double the present amount for all market segments by the end of the financial year. This should translate to an increase in annual revenues by at least 50 percent for the upcoming financial period.
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