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Red carpet welcome for business customers

ALTHOUGH all the mobile and fixed-line operators emphasize that all groups of customers are equally important to them there is no doubt that business clients play an extremely important role in their planning.

BUSINESS packages combine data and voice services.
photo: TASR

ALTHOUGH all the mobile and fixed-line operators emphasize that all groups of customers are equally important to them there is no doubt that business clients play an extremely important role in their planning.

Telecom operators offers special business packages to attract as many business clients as possible. Mobile and fixed-line operators are competing for the same market by offering good business packages that include a combination of voice and data services.

So with the entry of seven alternative fixed-line operators onto the market the race for business customers is on. Telecommunications insiders expect that alternative operators will mainly target business customers, especially at the beginning. For example, Dial Telecom, which started providing fixed-line services even before signing an interconnection contract with Slovak Telecom in March, has focussed mainly on business clientele.

The alternative operators promise not only higher quality services but also a drop in prices. However, as they only recently signed contracts on interconnecting their network with Slovak Telecom, there are at present only three players on the Slovak telecommunications market: fixed-line operator Slovak Telecom, and mobile operators Orange and T-Mobile.

"Every residential or corporate customer is important for any company [on the telecommunications market]. Because Slovak Telecom provides services to both segments it is only natural that it makes efforts to attract and maintain customers from business circles, whose number is limited but whose business is lucrative," Radoslav Bielka, spokesman for Slovak Telecom told The Slovak Spectator.

Peter Tóth, spokesman for Orange said: "The corporate customer segment is an important segment from the point of view of earnings and its share of overall sales."

Juraj Droba, director of corporate affairs at T-Mobile, emphasized that all customers are equally important but added: "Business clients are an important, lucrative customer segment and that is why we prefer an individual approach to these clients."

Slovak Telecom's Bielka did not reveal the share of corporate customers or the number of overall customers or sales. Droba of T-Mobile was not specific either but he said that the share of business clients on overall revenues is several times higher than their share of the number of SIM cards. According to Tóth of Orange, business customers take a 35 percent share of Orange's overall revenues while they represent just 15 percent of activated SIM cards.

Given that the operators are so keen to get their customers, it is worth it for business clients to thoroughly analyze different offers because the wide range of products enables them to choose a combination of services for an affordable price.

For business customers the operators are prepared too offer individual solutions. It is possible for clients to combine fixed line, mobile voice services, domestic and international calls, fax, and data services according to their business's size, number of employees and core trade.

Price remains an important factor for choosing a particular telecommunications provider. However, telecommunications operators are confident that it is not the only factor in play when a customer makes a decision on which operator to choose.

"Corporate customers mainly aim for complex and cost effective communications solutions. That was the reason why Slovak Telecom prepared business packages consisting of not only phone calls but also the Internet. On the other hand, [individual] customers are [more] interested in saving on communications costs," Bielka of Slovak Telecom said.

Tóth of Orange pointed out that a customer never comes with a need for a concrete package. He added: "Based on their needs we try to choose from the portfolio of packages a combination that enables them to optimize their communications from the point of view of overall cost."

Droba of T-Mobile told the Spectator: "The price is important but not the only criterion. Quality of services and products are leading factors as well".

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