Price war set to heat up as AIS fights back
Firm to unveil incentives for new, existing users in response to rivals
The price war will escalate this week when Advanced Info Service Plc (AIS) announces new promotional call packages to counteract last week's marketing campaigns by its cellular competitors.
AIS will hold two press conferences: one to announce packages for new customers today, and another for existing customers tomorrow.
Late last week competitor Total Access Communication (DTAC) introduced a prepaid-call promotion, which charges subscribers Bt2 for the first hour and Bt3 per minute subsequently. The promotion will last one month.
The DTAC move came shortly after AIS's introduction of prepaid and post-paid promotional packages last week, featuring a minimum air-time charge of Bt0.25 per minute and Bt1 per minute respectively to woo new subscribers.
Third-largest cellular operator True Move launched a prepaid-call package late last week, offering unlimited free calls between 8am and 4pm every day for Bt199 per month.
For calls outside this period, True Move customers will be charged Bt5 for the first minute and then Bt1 for each additional minute.
True Move customers will also upon registration receive a Bt50 call bonus, which will last for one month.
AIS had 16.512 million users in January and 16.546 million in February.
True Move had about 120,000 net new subscribers in January and February, up from about 10,00 net additions last December.
DTAC currently has nearly nine million subscribers and True Move more than 4.8 million.
AIS chief executive Somprasong Boonyachai said subscriber intake in the first quarter would probably fall below the 332,900 of last year's first quarter, considering many negative factors.
These include the ongoing boycott of products linked with Shin Corp Plc and Singapore's Temasek Holdings. Shin is the parent of AIS.
Activist groups launched the boycott after the Shinawatra and Damapong families of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and his wife sold their combined 49.6-per-cent share in Shin to Temasek in January.
The activists regard the deal as selling national assets such as the Shin satellite and free-TV businesses to foreigners.