By Bryan Kramer
WHICH IS BETTER VALUE BEMOBILE OR DIGICEL?
Both companies claim to be PNG's fastest growing mobile carrier. Bmobile-Vodafone makes the statement on its website that it has been the fastest growing network in the country over the last 2 years. It claims its rapid expansion, upgrade and construction of new network sites and great products have resulted in a large increase in our customer base. It further advertises on this website "PNG's best value for money mobile service"
In contrast Digicel boasts the "company is renowned for delivering best value, best service and best network."
It's public knowledge that Digicel has the superior network with 1088 towers nationwide but does it deliver the better value and service.
Both companies provide voice (phone calls) international and roaming, sms and data services.
For voice/call services per minute:
Peak Hour: Digi is K0.79 vs Bemobile at K0.50 (36% cheaper)
Off Peak: Digi is K0.49 vs Bemobile at K0.25 (49% cheaper)
Calling other networks:
Peak Hour: Digi to Bemobile K0.99 vs Bemobile to Digi K0.80 (19% cheaper).
Off Peak: Digi to Bemobile K0.68 vs Bemobile to Digi K0.50 (26% cheaper).
Digicel's peak hours are 7am-9pm and their off peak 9pm-7pm while Bemobile's peak hours are 7am-6pm and off peak 6pm to 7am. The difference being that Bemobile provides 3 hrs more off peak time at cheaper rates. Both companies classify Saturdays and Sundays as off peak hours.
International Calls to main countries around the world:
Digicel is K1.48 vs Bemobile K0.79 (46% cheaper).
Peak Hour: Digi K0.25 vs Bemobile K0.10 (60% cheaper)
Off Peak: Digi K0.25 vs Bemobile K0.05 (80% cheaper)
Peak: Digi to Bemobile K0.25 vs Bemobile to Digi K0.25
Off Peak: Digi to Bemobile K0.25 vs Bemobile to Digi K0.20 (20% cheaper).
International SMS text messages
Digicel K0.35 vs Bemobile K0.40 (12.5% more expensive)
Digicel's out of bundle data rate is K0.49 per MB while Bemobile is K0.30 per MB. (39% cheaper).
While customers are charged per megabyte (MB) how each company deducts data is very different. Digicel deducts 400KB increments or instalments (1000 KB make up 1MB) So every time we access the net even though we may only use 10KB of data Digicel will still deduct a full 400KB from our data balance. While Bemobile deducts data in 10 KB instalments, hence why Data lasts longer on Bemobile network. To put this in context if you went online 10 times on then your minimum data deduction on Bemobile will be 100KB (10 x 10KB) cost of 0.3 toea while under Digicel it would 10 x 400 KB (4MB) at K0.49 per MB charge or (4x K0.49) = K1.96 (Bemobile 98% cheaper). However Bemobile advertises its data rate on it's website at 30 toea per MB and 10KB deductions at 3 toea. This needs to be clarified whether it's suppose to be 0.3 toea because 1 MB is made up 1000 KB and if 1MB is priced at 30 toea then 10KB would be equal to 0.3 toea and not 3 toea.
Digicel Social Plans
1 Day K4.00 60MB (6.6 toea per MB) previously K3.00
3 Day K12.00 190MB (6.3 toea per MB) previously K10.00
7 Day K23.00 450MB (5 toea per MB) previously K20.00
14 Day K35.00 700MB (5 toea per MB) previously K40.00
30 Day K70.00 1.5GB (4.6 toea per MB) previously K65.00
Digicel Regular Plan
1 Hr K1.50 30MB (5 toea per MB)
1 Day K3.00 60MB (5 toea per MB)
Mega Plan K80.00 1.9GB (4.2 toea per MB)
Super Plan K220.00 5GB (4.4 toea per MB)
Jumbo Plan K325.00 9.5GB (3.4 toea per MB)
The difference between Digicel's Social and Regular plan is that Digicel claims social plans get free access to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and PNG Loop. However I subscribed to 14 Day plan yesterday and I've been on facebook most of today yet 400MB of my data has been used up, raising the question whether Digicel's claim of free access to Facebook is a further example of deceptive practices.
Digicel has also advertised on its website that effective as of the 5th December 2015, your access to certain websites generating high video streaming traffic (eg you-tube) will be charged at 60 toea per MB and all VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocal) eg calls made over the internet on Viber and WhatsApps will be charged at a higher rate of K1.00 per MB. Overall Digicel has increased rates for it data plans.
In comparison Bemobile's Data Plans are as follows:
1 Day K3 50MB (6 toea per MB)
3 Day K5 70MB (7.1 toea per MB)
7 Day K10 150MB (6.6 toea per MB)
14 Days K20 350MB (5.7 toea per MB)
14 Days K40 750MB (5.3 toea per MB)
30 Days K80 1.5G (5.3 toea per MB)
30 Days K225 5G (4.5 toea per MB)
30 Days K375 10G (3.7 toea per MB)
Data plan per MB rate between Digicel and Bemobile is less than 1 toea however you will always lose 4 times more data under Digicel who will deduct 400KB of data increments while Bemobile deducts at only 10KB and further the out-of-bundle rate is 39% more expensive under Digicel
It's important to note these are standard rates advertised by each company and excludes promotional rates. Based on these rates Bemobile clearly provides the better value across all services with exception to international text messages which is 12.5% more expensive than Digicel.
So how do the companies stack up over their Promotional Rates?
On 7th August 2015 Digicel introduced Super 60 SMS Bundle for Digicel to Digicel. Where you buy 2 Super 60 SMS Bundles (K1.20) in the same day and get the 3rd bundle FREE. That gives you a total of 180 SMS to text all day & night conditional that it be used before midnight at a cost K2.40.
Then on 19th November 2015 Digicel changed the promotion
60 SMS Bundle to now Auto-Renews so you carry over your remaining un-used SMS over to your new SMS bundle. Now, the 60 SMS Bundle is valid for 24 hours instead midnight the same day. In other in other words they make more money from you.
Digicel ran a promotion over Christmas and New Years where you get 500MB for just K5 to use between 12am & 6am every day. However most people are not even awake between 12am and 6am in the morning.
Yesterday on 4th January 2015 it advertised on its Facebook page that Promotions are back on announcing that the temporary break for both the 60 SMS and the 100 minutes free nights promotion have been reactivated as of January 02nd 2016. You can now top receive your SMS bundles when you top up with K5 or more to enjoy your 100 Free minutes from 11pm-7am! Again no one is normally awake between 11pm and 7am.
Meanwhile Bemobile's is running Voice (calls) SMS and Data promotions which include:
1 Day K5 for 5 mins free call + 5 SMS to both Bemobile or Digi numbers for just K2. Based on normal rates this would be valued at K5.25 K4.00 in calls and SMS K1.25. (savings of 62%).
7 Day K7 for 7 Free Unlimited minute calls on bemobile network + 10 Minutes free calls to Digicel numbers plus 20 Local SMS + 20 MB of data.
14 Days K15 for 15 Free Unlimited minute calls on bemobile network + 30 SMS + 30mins call on any network +30MB data
30 Day K50 for 50 Free unlimited calls bemobile network + 150 SMS + 150 mins call on any network + 150 MB data.
Bemobile promotions providing unlimited calls are significant in value and difficult to quantify.
Most people have raised the issue that Bemobile has an inferior network to Digicel this is true however both companies have interconnection arrangements in place therefore Bemobile users can tap into any Digicel tower to access any Digicel customer on Digicel's network. Thus people who reside in urban centres would significantly benefit from subscribing to Bemobile instead of Digicel, it is considerably cheaper than Digicel to Digicel. However those living in remote locations where Bemobile is yet to establish its network Bemobile phones would be useless to you as you can only access the network through a Digicel phone.
So there you have it the bigger better network is no longer the bigger better value, I suspect after this article Digicel will respond by dropping their rates in an effort to avoid losing market share. The sooner people subscribe to Bemobile the sooner Digicel will be forced to drop it's rates indirectly benefiting those living in rural areas who are restricted to Digicel's network.