Has anyone noticed the prepaid wars that have been going on?
Maxis Hotlink and Digi Prepaid and Celcom Xpax are having the most outrageous war I have ever witnessed. It is crazy. I can’t even go out of my house without seeing at least one Maxis or Digi or Celcom ad. At the rate their relentless ad campaigns are going, I’m probably gonna even start dreaming about them soon.
Every one of the telcos is out there saying they’re the best. Everyone is saying they’re the cheapest among the rest. It’s like a noisy scene straight out from the pasar malam. “Don’t buy them lah, buy me!” they all scream, yelling one on top of the other.
The fight between our three mobile operators is becoming so intense, it made the Tyson vs Holyfield look like two playboy bunnies going at it with fluffy pink pillows.
Traditionally, Hotlink has always been the leader of the pack when it comes to prepaid.
The latest round of battles restarted when Hotlink launched their Total Plan. When it first came out, it was such an attractive package that prompted many prepaid customers to “Activate Hotlink”.
But the flaw though is that the multitude of different call rates to different operators in different states at different time of the day made it too complicated for the average consumer to comprehend.
Digi Prepaid was smart, and they capitalised on that by unveiling their One Low Flat Rate campaign – 38c/min to any network in any state. A lot of Hotlink’s customers dropped their 012 numbers and switched to 016. Needless to say, Maxis wasn’t too happy.
What a lot of customers don’t know or don’t care is that the 38c/min is only after you spent more than RM30 in a month.
Desperate to shed its stigma as the most expensive telco provider, Celcom Xpax emerged as the late entrant in this bitter war with a weapon of mass destruction of its own.
By attacking both Hotlink’s confusing call rates structure and Digi’s reluctance to announce that 38c/min is only after you have spent a certain amount, Xpax retaliated with their Guaranteed Lowest Prices For 5 Months campaign – 38c/min within the network to any state, without needing to spend a minimum amount.
Then, it gets interesting! Around this time someone came up with a supposedly “anonymous” website at TheTruthAboutPrepaid.com, claiming to want to spread the truth about prepaid.
With its yellow background and singing of praises about Digi, it doesn’t take a Malaysian-astronaut-making-teh-tarik-in-space to work out exactly which telco is behind this.
A check on the site’s domain registry confirms the identity of the devil.
For a short while, Xpax returned the blow to Digi of its own with a website at TheTruthAboutPrepaid.com.my (note the .my extension).
But the whole thing lasted for barely a month before it was shelved. I won’t be surprised if Digi tried to sue Celcom for copying their ideas. Then again, Celcom needs to copy other people’s ideas because they seems to always come up with the stupidest advertising strategy.
Like right now, they’re getting the England football players to promote their Celcom brand. But they can’t even afford to get those football players to pose with a proper phone for their ad!
Look at the phones these idiots are holding on the billboard…
Now, compare that to the phones they are holding on in the Celcom website.
What lah! Have to photoshop the phones in some more!
I think the most ridiculous thing about all these “truth” campaigns is how the telco operators so carefully avoid outright mentioning their rivals’ name, presumably due for legal reasons.
Xpax becomes “Telco X” and comes with a purple header; Hotlink becomes “Telco H” with a red header.
CAN IT BE ANYMORE OBVIOUS?!
Wanna say Xpax, say Xpax lah! Say what “Telco X” somemore? Idiot!
Right now, all eyes are on Hotlink, who has to this date refused to play with Digi and Celcom in their game of underhanded advertising tactics. The red prepaid company responded by slashing their call rates down to as low as 10 cents/min for Activ5 – the lowest call rate among all telcos.
It sucks that Hotlink’s call rates structure is still as complicated as ever. The average consumer probably wouldn’t even bother making the comparison. Which is why despite Hotlink’s lower prices, they’re unable to shift people’s long-time perception that Digi is cheaper, eventhough that may not always be the case.
But no matter how you look at it, the truth about the truth about prepaid is THIS.
Not one single prepaid plan can offer the cheapest rates across all the different scenarios.
Everybody’s usage pattern is different, and depending on what type of a user you are, one operator would turn out to be cheaper than the other. What works for one person, is not always gonna work for the next.
Hmm… maybe I should do review of each of these prepaid plans. That’ll put to rest once and for all which telco is the best.
I see all those telco operators all claiming to be heroes wanting to spread the truth, but then they twist the truths to make themselves look good.
At the end of the day, Maxis Hotlink, Digi Prepaid and Celcom Xpax are all just doing the same thing.
They say “Trust me, I am telling the truth.”
But then you ALL say you are telling the truth!
“Aiya! You should listen to me more, because my truth is more truthful than their truth!”
June Tan is a masters student at the University of Malaya currently doing research on Malaysian blogging attitude. She’s looking for bloggers and blog readers to do a short survey.
Let’s all help her complete her masters thesis with flying colours yea?