O2 is targeting the £1.4bn international call market by launching International Favourites, a £10 per month bolt-on deal for consumers and SMEs.
The offering, which will launch on 26 October, provides customers with 3,000 minutes (50 hours) at £10 per month to three international landline numbers.
For £20 per month, customers will get 3,000 landline minutes and 200 mobile minutes to five international numbers. The deal covers 60 countries.
Both options come with a ‘Call Me’ number, which gives customers a local phone number in one of 42 countries that connects directly to their UK mobile. Family and friends in that country can then call their O2 mobile at a local call rate.
Jonathan Earle, head of consumer marketing at O2, told Mobile: ‘International calls tend to fall into two buckets: very short direct calls; and those that want much longer conversations. Our customers said give us a deal where we don’t have to watch the clock while calling overseas. Make it simple and let me do it on pay-as-you-go or pay monthly.’
O2 claims that the new service will provide a strong alternative to voice over IP calling, as well as differentiating it from its competitors. The operator estimates that it has around a 10% share of the £1.4bn international calling market but expects there to be plenty of room for expansion with around six million people in the UK wanting to call their families and friends abroad regularly. Earle said that O2 is also targeting the SME market, which it believes will welcome the value offer.
He added that the operator sees International Favourites as complimentary to its ethnic MVNOs, such as Lycamobile, rather than in competition.
‘It offers our customers more choice. Call card users tend to make short international calls,’ he said. He added that while VoIP services such as Skype were good, they are restrictive in that users need access to a computer.'
Mobile revealed in August that the international calling solution, which was due for launch on 24 August, would not be available until a later date.
The service, which will be available through O2’s stores and other direct and indirect channels, will be backed by a major marketing campaign, including TV advertising, starting in November.
Much of the learning for the service has come from Silicon Valley-based VoIP provider Jajah, which O2 bought earlier in the year. ‘Jajah gave us the agility and expertise to do this, especially on the technical side and the ‘Call Me’ number.
Earle said O2 was working with Jajah on developing a number of other products, which customers can expect to see being rolled out from Q1 2011.