By Nadezhda Dimitrova
Merchandise Management Department Manager – One Telecommunications
Telecoms are telecoms you would say and would be very natural to wonder what financing has to do with telecoms. Well, the past 10 years telecoms are going through constant transformations to adopt to market and customer demands.
The most evident example is how voice communication became unvalued for customers with the rise of internet and digital communication. Now everything is about Data and content.
Yet to use data customers need to have the tools to use it. Then, making mobile handsets accessible for customers is another natural development for telecoms.
Now, looking at the financing market there are two main types of organizations that provide it: banks and consumer financing institutions. For good or for bad the first tend to be conservative and make it difficult to obtain personal credit.
The second on the other hand are flexible and fast, but usually apply additional taxes and higher interest rates. It is important that in both cases we are speaking of loans that can be used by customers for any purpose.
One Telecommunications is focused on making connectivity effective and new smart phones accessible for its customers. So, to really do the work for them.
With smart phones we started one year ago by introducing wide portfolio. All devices in One Telecommunication stores are with proven origin and 24 months warranty.
The second step was to introduce the model of subsidies when device is combined with One Telecommunication service. Thus, we made the newest handsets models even more affordable for our customers. In contrast applying the traditional margin-based discounts usually is financially reasonable only for the older models and pushed by the natural drop of market prices.
The third step for us was to make possible our customers to acquire the newest and most wished model on small monthly payments.
Since October this year One Telecommunications is offering what is called Equipment Installments Plan (EIP) for mobile phones to Albanian consumers. We combined the EIP with our telco services and now in our stores customers are getting the most suitable, complete solution: smart phone, paid in small monthly payments, and communication plan that serves their needs of connectivity.
With One Unlimited tariff plans customers can choose between 12 or 24 months EIP. I cannot say that we invented the wheel. It is more about exploring best practices, generated experience and applying innovation spirit.
If readers are interested in more details, they could study the case of “O2 My Handy” program, launched in Germany by Telefonica “O2”, or the case of “Orange” in Spain.
Despite that One Telecommunication is not a financial institution, we worked on this project observing all the principles of Responsible Finance, which emerged across the world after the crisis in 2009.
We are monitoring and analyzing on daily basis the economic environment, the needs and wishes of our customers with the objective to assure secure and tailored offers that do not push our customers into over-indebtedness. It is extremely important for us. We realize that our services make us part of the daily lives of customers and we want to be present as partner, not just as provider.
In fact, EIP is a win-win-win proposition. The third win is for the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM). The existent of EIP, provided by telecoms, increases the sales of the newer high-end and flagship models.
In conclusion, I am confident that our Device on Installments program is the new standard on Albanian telecommunications market. I invite customers to visit One stores to see our selection of smart phones and ask the sales representatives for the ways to acquire any of them, even if they do not need a device now.
I started my career in telecommunications in Bulgaria 15 years ago, as shop representative. Since then I have been involved in different areas in retail sales and product and process management.
I joined ONE Telecommunications last October as Commercial Project Manager. Currently I have the honor to lead the team that has the task to make One the best place to buy a smart phone, as part of our strategy to become the preferred telecommunication partner of Albanian customers. My team is not only preparing the portfolio of smartphones and calculate prices, but also creates services that complete the customer experience.