Woolies: Customers don't want mobile data

Summary:Woolworths customers don't want data included in their mobile phone plans, according to research the retailer completed to launch its 2G wholesale mobile partnership with Optus today.

(Credit: Woolworths)

Woolworths customers don't want data included in their mobile phone plans, according to research the retailer completed to launch its 2G wholesale mobile partnership with Optus today.

"Look, what we do is we listen to our customers' requirements. This is a talk and text product predominantly," Richard Umbers, Woolworths' general manager of Customer Engagement told ZDNet.com.au this morning.

Woolworths had not ruled out increasingly popular data plans required for such devices as the iPhone 3G or 3GS at some point in the future; however, it will not offer rich data plans from its 17 August launch date.

"If our customers come back to us and say there is a need for data we will certainly listen to that and be open to every opportunity in the future," Umbers said.

The "talk and text" product utilises Optus' 2G network and does include a small GPRS data allowance. Woolworths-branded SIM cards will cost $2 at Woolworths, Safeway, BIG W and Dick Smith stores. A flat rate for voice calls of 15 cents flagfall and 15 cents for every 30 seconds of conversation applies to mobile and fixed-line calls. Text messages cost 15 cents.

Woolworths had pinpointed mothers who were confused by existing mobile phone plans as its core demographic for the product's launch. Umbers identified them as the "decision-makers" who dominate the 21 million transactions conducted at its various outlets each week. He said its product had a "heightened sense of safety" for children of parents who buy the service.

"It's also interesting that the profile that represents those 21 million transactions is not representative of the overall population," said Umbers. "So the decision-maker — and you can draw your own inferences here — is often the person who does the shopping, not only for themselves, but also for their families."

"It's really our desire to skew the product deliberately to that target audience ... which currently is full of a lot of people that are confused by the existing proposition. And they just want a phone that they can phone and text people," he said.

Umbers said Woolworths could have offered a more complex set of mobile phone prepaid plans if it chose to.

Topics: Telcos, Optus

About

Liam Tung is an Australian business technology journalist living a few too many Swedish miles north of Stockholm for his liking. He gained a bachelors degree in economics and arts (cultural studies) at Sydney's Macquarie University, but hacked (without Norse or malicious code for that matter) his way into a career as an enterprise tech, s... Full Bio

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