12/19/2008 3:07:00 PM
£5m worth of marketing for ethnic mvnos
MVNOs Lebara Mobile and Lycamobile are raising the stakes as they compete head-to-head for cheap international Sim cards.
Lebara said it has already reached 600,000 customers, which is 12% of the ethnic MVNO market in just over one year since it launched.
Lycamobile claimed it will shift over one million Sim cards in the first 12 months since it launched in September this year, exceeding its initial target of 750,000.
Sales have been driven by multimillion-pound marketing projects, with Lycamobile claiming to have spent over £5m on a major advertising campaign, featured on buses, trains and billboards.
The MVNO aims to continue investing heavily in marketing with another imminent £5m outlay.
Lycamobile’s long-term goal is to capture 65% of all subscribers that need to make overseas calls.
Lebara estimates that there are around eight million people in the UK that make regular international calls, around five million of which would consider buying an overseas Sim card.
Lycamobile is carried over the Orange network, while Lebara has a wholesale deal with Vodafone. Both networks have cashed in on the number of people working in the UK with family overseas.
Lycamobile CEO Milind Kangle said: ‘It’s a very competitive market because ethnic consumers are price-sensitive and they demand quality. But we offer a service where a call to Cambridge is the same as a call to Calcutta, and a call to Kenya is as crisp in quality as a call to Luton.
‘It’s a big growth area. We have a sharp focus on expanding our distribution and are looking to aggressively expand the number of points of sale we have next year.’
John Fawcett, Lebara’s head of marketing, said: ‘The UK is still seeing a lot of highly skilled migrants coming in, although that growth may not be as significant as 12 months ago. We’re very much still at the bottom of the development curve.’