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In pursuit of new users mobile Internet access operator Scartel (owns “Yota” brand) introduces new rules of tariffication. Now the cost of company's services will depend on the selected data communication speed. Previous experiments with the tariffs when Scartel raised the prices by more than 55% cost 2.5% of its subscriber base.
The new tariffication system will allow subscribers to customize the speed of Internet access in their personal account in the range from 320 kbit /s to 10 Mbit/s. Cost of services depending on the selected speed ranges from 0,5 to 1,4 thousand rubles per month. One can change the settings for free, in real time and an unlimited number of times. When balance drops to zero user can have Internet access at 64 kbit/s for free, for 50 rubles one can remove the speed limit for two hours.
Scartel CEO Denis Sverdlov stresses that this is the first such system in the world: "We believe that such a model would be more beneficial to consumers and make the 4G Internet accessible to more customers". According to his estimates, the introduction of a new principle of pricing may increase subscriber base of operator by 30%, revenue - by 20% within three to four months. Up to 10% of “Yota” subscribers will be active users of the new tariffication in the first month, company hopes.
The sole shareholder of Sсartel - Christiva Holdings Limited, controlled by Yota Holding. 74,9% of Yota Holding is owned by the fund Telconet Capital, 25,1% - by "Russian Technologies". Company provides services of wireless Internet access by mobile Wimax in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Krasnodar, Sochi and Ufa. In early September, the operator has received permission to build a federal LTE-network. In the first quarter of 2011 its revenue was 1,09 billion rubles, subscriber base – 731,5 thousand people.
In mid-March of this year Scartel has sharply raised tariffs: option of connection to the network for one day for 90 rubles was eliminated and the minimum time-bound option became "Yota Week" (500 rubles). Monthly access price increased from 900 to 1,400 rubles, i.e. tariffs grew by 55%. There was need to improve the quality of services as the network could not cope with the influx of subscribers. But in the end the operator has lost 2,5% of its users, admitted Mr. Sverdlov. At this time, he says, the quality of services will not suffer even if the mass influx of subscribers occurs.
According to the Commercial Director of "Akado-Stolitsal" Sergey Avetisyan, the possibility of real-time control of connection parameters may be of interest to corporate clients. Companies often use network of this operator as a backup, he says. If the primary network goes out they will be able to quickly configure high-speed Internet access. But the bulk of subscribers is unlikely to be interested by the proposal, said Mr. Avetisyan: "According to our research, it is more important to the customers to have the quality of the connection, but not the ability to customize its speed". To the average user it is sufficient to have speed of 5,8Mbit/s which allows to comfortably work with email, social networking and online-cinemas (the most popular services today), the minimum acceptable speed, according to him, is 2 Mbit/sec.
Manager of a major ISP adds that to Scartel it will be difficult to control speed of the selected subscribers, since it depends, for example, on the level of network’s congestion.
MTS notes that the tariffs bound to the speed of connection are not new, mobile operators have used them when 3G-modems were first entering the market. "Our experience has shown that users prefer tariffs with reference to the volume of available traffic, and not to the speed of access", - said MTS spokeswoman Valeriya Kuzmenko.