Ethnic MVNO Lebara Mobile said last week it will now be able to compete as a real prepay force against the incumbent networks after it cut its UK national call rate from 15p a minute to 10p.
It has also reduced rates to selected international destinations. Texts remain at 10p both nationally and internationally.
Lebara marketing director Jon Fawcett said the aim was to prompt customers to use their Lebara SIM as their sole SIM rather than a secondary one for international calls only.
The MVNO is backing its new proposition with a £750,000 marketing campaign, utilising not only the ethnic media, but mainstream outdoor and print media.
Said Fawcett: “One of our objectives was to work out the best way of changing our proposition from a single play offer to a double play of low cost international and low cost national calls, so our customers use our SIM all the time.
“So our two aims are to make clear to our core target audience that calling nationally with Lebara on prepay will be better value than using the established networks; and to broaden the appeal of Lebara so any prepay consumer in the UK can now benefit from the unique combination Lebara has to offer.”
Fawcett added that Lebara was looking to tie up further retail partnerships and extending its reach in the indirect mobile channel. It has already announced a partnership with distributor Brightstar, which at this stage only involves fulfilment for Lebara’s online SIM store. It is set to become a fully-fledged distribution agreement by the end of the year.
The MVNO will also be expanding its multilingual customer services team to cater for the new demand it is anticipating – up to a 20 per cent rise in customer numbers over the next quarter, said Fawcett, and an increase in network traffic that is expected to run into “tens of millions” of minutes.
Lebara UK country manager Robert Gaskin said: “We believe that our move to reduce UK call rates will prove to be a market-changing strategy for us. The Lebara Mobile proposition is already immensely popular and we are hoping that this will benefit our existing customers as well as attract new customers.”