Mobile retail services market A sharp upward trend in the early period of 2007-2009 for mobile services marked Digicel’s entry into the telecoms market following liberalization of the telecommunications market. In that period, Digicel competed with the incumbent operator, Telecom Vanuatu Ltd. With a wider coverage and mobile service availability over the nation, the price for mobile services, handsets and SIM cards drop significantly; driving more demand for mobile services and, significantly, increasing mobile subscriptions.
In 2010, subscriptions for mobile services peaked at over 160,000 following fast construction and installation of communication infrastructures and roll out of services throughout Vanuatu, from north to south especially in rural areas. High demand and lower prices for using the mobile services were a major contributing factor to this increase. The number of registered mobile subscribers, however, decreased in 2011 followed by a slight increase in 2012 and another drop again in 2013.A contributing factor to such a trend is:
• Competition being stabilized.
• Increased competition between the two mobile competitors (TVL and Digicel) meaning that end users or consumers first moved from one operator to the other as shown by the increasing trend then followed by the decreasing trend as consumers pick their network of preference.
• Customers often have more than one mobile service provider’s account maintaining pre-paid accounts with both Digicel and TVL, so as to take advantage of discounted prices for on-net calls.
• After trialing service on both providers they may have made a selection of need for only one mobile service provider.
Price change and special offers within the market provided by both TVL and Digicel and the increased knowledge of customers in being able to understand mobile functionality and general competition behaviors, were also seen as a contributing factor to affect customer behavior to subscribe and use their preferred service providers. Regulatory intervention and Telecommunications Radiocommunications and Broadcasting Regulator's (TRBR)investigation into TVL’s anti-competitive complaint, may also have affected market subscriptions and operators innovation; one way or the other. Overall, in short, the market for mobile retails services between the period of 2012 and 2013 appears to be stable as competition has matured.