Doing market-based research is imperative in order to understand the manner in which customers respond to market dynamics. While there are many different types of companies and business enterprises in operation, all over Australia, the success of any business will depend on how favorably disposed customers are towards its products and services. This report provides a detailed overview of the telecom market in Australia with special reference to Vodafone Hutchinson, and explains the need for doing research on the pricing of its products and services. The report concludes by stating the business objective and research objective of doing this study, which is primarily, to find out the role that pricing has to play in influencing customers to avail 3G internet service as offered by Vodafone Hutchinson.
Market and Strategic Overview
Understanding the Telecom Market in Australia and its Dynamics
The telecom market in Australia is one that caters to the mobile phone and internet needs of Australian customers. The telecom market is very large in size and continues to grow and expand with every passing day. Innovations and new ideas dominate the Australian telecom market, and new and interesting services in the form of low calling rates, low priced text messaging services are seen to emerge in this market on a regular basis. The Australian telecom market is thriving today largely because of the quality of the products and services that are made available to customers (Campbell 2016). Apart from the conveniently low priced calling rates, customers can make extensive use of an amazing range of telecom services that include fixed line services, broad band services, free text message services and 3G internet services among others. The telecom market in Australia is one that caters to customers of every age group. Any person between eighteen to thirty years of age in any Australian city or town, will have every incentive to use mobile network services at one point of time or the other. This is largely due to the fact that mobile phones help people in remaining connected to one another, especially if they are based in far of locations, at a great distance from their near ad dear ones, for professional reasons. The average Australian today, is a man who does not go out of the house without a smart phone in hand or in his brief case. The telecom market in Australia has been involved in the large scale provision of phone network services primarily due to the fact that such mobile phones especially smart phones make day to day living very convenient for users, by allowing them to check and send emails on the go, hold meetings through applications like Skype and Google Talk, and sent important professional and personal messages through Whatsapp or Facebook messenger as and when needed (Gregory 2016).
Major Players and Key Competitors in the Australian Telecom Industry
Some of the major players and key competitors in the Australian telecom industry and for the Vodafone Hutchinson company in particular, include companies such as Telstra, Singapore Teleco, My Net Fone, Queste Communications and Netcomm Wireless among others. Vodafone Hutchinson is by far the most well known out of all these telecom service providers and is known to provide its customers with quality services at affordable prices (Gregory 2017). Vodafone Hutchinson is the third largest telecom company in Australia (Vodafone Australia 2018). What makes the services provided by Vodafone Hutchinson particularly worth opting for is the fact that these are services that are characterized by excellent network connectivity (Vodafone Australia 2018). Customers will seldom complain about there being no network or any technical issue when making use of Vodafone Hutchinson services in order to make calls, receive calls, and to use internet in their smart phones. The Vodafone Hutchinson services are accessible even in remote locations, such as in mountainous terrains or in forested regions and natural parks and spaces, where mobile connectivity is expected to be a rarity. While Vodafone Hutchinson has been providing top notch mobile connectivity services in Australia for quite some time now, it is not to say that other major competitors and players in the Australian telecom industry are too far behind. Queste Communications and Singapore Teleco are two mobile service providers in Australia that are known to provide affordably priced calling and text messaging services, catering to primarily the student population in the country, which cannot afford to spend too much money on the acquisition of mobile networks and related services (Campbell 2016). Free calling and unlimited internet services are also provided by My Net Fone and Netcomm Wireless, thus enabling customers to make extensive use of wireless internet facilities as much as they would like to in any and every part of Australian. What makes Vodafone Hutchinson really stand out from other important rivals and competitors in the Australian telecom industry is the fact that it also provides high quality broadband internet and fixed line services for customers of every budget or economic background (Gregory 2017).
Past and Current Activity of Vodafone Hutchinson
Vodafone Hutchinson is an Australian telecomm company that has always and continues to make new and exciting mobile connectivity services available to customers, and that too at all times of the year. Special discounts and offers are made available on internet packs and internet recharges when the holiday season is in progress (Zhang 2014). One of the primary ways by which Vodafone Hutchinson is able to cater to the needs and desires of its customer base is to continuously revive or innovate on its products and services. While the company initially started out by providing fixed line and broadband services, customers can now avail free mobile to mobile calling services, low priced local and international call services, free text messaging facilities and access to unlimited internet on all days of the month. There are internet recharge packs that are made available to customers at many different values (Gregory 2017). While the top up recharge packs are affordably priced, these tend to get exhausted too easily. It is therefore more common for customers to make use of internet recharge packs and schemes whereby customers get to make use of long term or excessive internet services for a fixed price every month. The unlimited internet services that are provided by Vodafone Hutchinson give customers the scope of browsing the internet as many times a day as they need to for professional or personal reasons. This viewing of the internet and its consequent use is made available to customers for a fixed sum of money only. Customers are expected to pay only a stipulated sum of money in order to be able to use internet services offered by Vodafone Hutchinson as much as they need to without having to worry about exhausting their internet data packs (Campbell 2017).
Target Market of Vodafone Hutchinson
The target market of Vodafone Hutchinson is of course customers who are in the age group between fifteen years to as much as eighty five years. This is because both the young and the old in Australia are known to make extensive use of mobile phones in order to remain in touch with their near and dear ones, as well as to do their professional work, for those who are employed (Campbell 2017). The company specifically looks at customers who are in their teens or in their early youth as these are people who are known to use mobile connectivity and networking services the maximum. Teenagers as well as those going to college and university are glued to apps like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger, that allows them to interact with their friends and family as and when they want to without actually having to meet them in person. The mobile internet services that are offered by Vodafone Hutchinson are used quite a bit by school going children as well as by those going to college and university in order to browse the internet for educational material, do their school and college assignments and educate themselves on topics of general knowledge, apart from using the internet as a source of entertainment as well (Gregory 2017). The working population of Australia, that is, people who are aged between twenty five years and fifty five years also constitute a target consumer base for Vodafone Hutchinson. Working professionals need to be connected to their colleagues, bosses and clients for the purpose of business. All business deals are clinched today in Australia through Skype calls and Whatsapp messages, while video calling is also done from time to time for clients and service providers to become familiar with one another (Burke et al. 2014).
Factors that influence the Operations of Vodafone Hutchinson
There are no stringent rules and regulations in Australia that the telecomm industry is expected to adhere to in order to carry out its operations. Telecomm companies like Vodafone Hutchinson and Singapore Teleco as well as other key players and competitors, are allowed to do perform their functions in an unrestricted, flexible and economically rewarding environment (Hynes and Elwell 2016).
Seasonality is not something that is known to affect the operations of Vodafone Hutchinson in any way whatsoever. The Vodafone mobile network, fixed line, broad band services and wireless internet services are made use of extensively by all segments of the Australian population, and all round the year (Zhang 2014).
The Vodafone Hutchinson services are those that are evenly distributed across all corners of the country, near the ocean, in the downtown city areas and even in areas of high altitude. The mobile network and fixed line services offered are those that extend across the length and the breadth of the country and there is absolutely no part of the country that is not covered by their mobile network coverage (Burke et al. 2014).
The Vodafone Hutchinson services in Australia, including the fixed line and broad band services are those that are very affordably priced. Customers do not have to burn a hole in the pocket in order to use mobile internet services or to buy pre-paid or post paid mobile phone network services offered by Vodafone Hutchinson in Australian cities and towns. The Vpdafon Hutchinson mobile network connectivity in Australia is priced well, and caters to customers from diverse economic backgrounds (McLaren 2017).
Vodafone Hutchinson is known to provide its customers with top-notch mobile networks and connectivity issues are quite a rarity in the country. It is possible for customers to communicate with colleagues, friends and family, in a smooth and hassle free manner using the mobile network services that are offered by Vodafone Hutchinson in different parts of the country (Campbell 2017). Vodafone Hutchinson is also known for its fabulous customer care services. The customer care executives are usually quite well behaved and polite and may be reached over toll free phone numbers, whenever a customer is in need of assistance. Customer services are also made available via social media platforms, pages, email and chat for customers who are not able to access the toll free phone lines (Gregory 2016).
Background and Role of the Research
Reasons for the Research
The whole purpose of doing this market based research is to try and find out the role that pricing in particular has to play behind customers making increasing use 3G mobile internet services offered by Vodafone Hutchinson. Given how essential mobile services are today in the country, and the fact that it is hard for people to communicate with each other without the use of a mobile network, it is a point worth considering as to whether Vodafone 3G internet services would still be in demand and so much in use had the price of such services been higher than what they are at the moment.
Understanding where the Research Fits into Marketing Programme Development
A mobile telecom service anywhere in Australia cannot be developed and launched in the market without first deciding on the prices at which such services are going to be made available to customers. Hence the research that is going to be conducted on the role of pricing in getting customers to avail 3G mobile network services by Vodafone Hutchinson in Australia, will have a vital role to play in understanding how marketing programs are created and developed by the company for its customer base.
Business Units Impacted and People Involved
The business units that the research is going to impact are the marketing and the sales units of Vodafone Hutchinson and the Australian telecomm market in general. The people who are going to be involved in the research is Vodafone Hutchinson, whose products and services are going to be researched on to see how pricing can influence the preference of a customer for a specific mobile connection, 3G internet such as Vodafone Hutchinson. Other people involved with the sample size of the research, that is the customers who are going to be interviewed, in order to arrive at the answers to the research question, and the customer care executives working for Vodafone Hutchinson who will also be expected to provide their views and thoughts on the correlation between pricing and customer preference for mobile network or connection.
Constraints on the Action that can be taken as a Result of the Research
Some of the constraints that can be taken on the results of the research include restrictions on keeping certain services and products by Vodafone Hutchinson a bit too low priced. For instance, the unlimited internet packs do not have to be as low in terms of price as these are at the moment, given that such internet packs are in high demand, and customers may just be willing to pay more than the existing or ongoing price in order to avail the unlimited internet services that are made available by Vodafone Hutchinson.
The overall strategic objective of the research, from the point of view of business matters is to arrive at an understanding of how cost or pricing can end up influencing the desire o a specific customer in Australia to make use of a specific mobile service, 3G internet offered by Vodafone Hutchinson. While there could be a myriad reasons as to why people opt for the use of mobile services in Australian cities and towns, this research is going to be very precise in its aim and objective and will only be looking at the role that the cost of a mobile service like a mobile 3G internet service offered by Vodafone Hutchinson, can have, on the decision of a customer to opt or make use of that particular mobile service.
The research related objectives of this particular study are as follows –
Attitude and Behavior of Customers
The research will undertake an examination of the present day attitude of mobile users in Australia to Vodafone Hutchinson mobile telecom services that are made available to them, and try and gauge how much it is that they are attracted to a particular mobile phone service based on the rates at which such a service is made available to them.
In the course of carrying out the research, attempts will be made to see what expectations it is that customers have from the Vodafone mobile phone services that they are using at the moment and what it is that they are going to be looking for the most, should they ever feel a reason to discontinue with the mobile connection services that they are using at present. This is a research objective that will try to understand what customers expect from the mobile connections that they avail, not only in terms of network quality and internet speed, but also from the point of view of price.
Customer Perceptions and Views of Mobile Phone Services in Australia
The extent to which Vodafone mobile phone network services are being availed in the country at the moment are going to be investigated through this research study. Efforts will be made by doing this research, to see what perceptions people have in Australian cities like Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, about the Vodafone connections they are using and their thoughts and views as to how such services could be improved upon. Their expectations from the mobile services that they avail at present will be gleaned through what it is that they have to say about their present mobile connections. In doing so, the research will also uncover how the mobile users in Australia feel today about the price of the mobile phone connections that they are using, and if, given the choice, they would opt for a 3G mobile internet service that was more cheaply priced or more highly priced. Thus, the crucial question of whether or not price has an important role to play in getting mobile phone customers in Australia to opt for specific mobile services like 3G internet is something that is going to be uncovered quite readily by getting to know customer perceptions and thoughts about Vodafone mobile services in the country at the moment.
Research Target and Preferences
The specific customer base that will be looked at, studied and interviewed for this research are customers aged between eighteen and forty five years of age, who likely have to make the maximum use of internet service for professional, academic and personal reasons.
The concerned research will be presented both in the form of an academic research report as well as a power point presentation of half an hour’s duration.
The proposed research will be carried out over a period of six to eight months that includes archival research and field work like interviews and focus group discussions.
The research will be conducted on a shoe-string budget of $ 5000. This will be required travel around from one Australian city to another for the purpose of field research.
Existing Research Information
It has already been established that Vodafone services in Australia are quite popular, given the fact that the company is the third largest telecom service provider in the country. Building on this notion, the researcher will attempt to see how the price of mobile internet services, specifically the 3G services, have a role to play in getting customers to purchase this service in large numbers.
The researcher will get in touch with the Vodafone Hutchinson offices in Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide, and then in Canberra, and request permission initially for interviews and focus group discussions to be conducted over here.
The Australian telecomm market or industry is a thriving and vibrant one. There are numerous players and competitors in this market, all of which make high quality mobile connection services available to customers of every budget. This particular research will try and understand how price can make an important contribution in influencing customers to opt for specific mobile connections or services as offered by Vodafone Hutchinson.
Burke, D., Yu, Y. and Mckenna, P., 2014, June. A capability map of effective and efficient delivery of Telecom managed services. In Service Systems and Service Management (ICSSSM), 2014 11th International Conference on (pp. 1-5). IEEE
Campbell, I., 2016. The transformation of Telecom's. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 4(3), p.61.
Campbell, I., 2017. Fact or fraud?: The epidemic which struck Telecom Australia from 1983 to 1986. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 5(2), p.75
Campbell, I., 2017. Towards Customer Leadership. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 4(4), pp.133-171.
Deng, X., Wang, J. and Wang, J., 2017. How to Design a Common Telecom Infrastructure for Competitors to be Individually Rational and Collectively Optimal. IEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications, 35(3), pp.736-750.
Genakos, C., Valletti, T. and Verboven, F., 2018. Evaluating market consolidation in mobile communications. Economic Policy, 33(93), pp.45-100.
Gregory, M., 2017. Telecommunications Performance Monitoring and Unlimited Data. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 5(1).
Gregory, M.A., 2016. Grand Intentions. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 4(3), p.ii
Gregory, M.A., 2016. Telecommunications market evolution and the need for legislative stability. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 4(4), p.ii.
Gregory, M.A., 2017. Telecommunications and Security Reform. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 5(3), pp.ii-iv.
Gunaratne, R.L., Ilavarasan P, V., Fernando, S. and Rohman, I.K., 2015. National broadband networks of Malaysia, India, Indonesia and Australia: A comparative study. Competition and Regulation in Network Industries, 16(1), pp.23-46
Hynes, N. and Elwell, A.D., 2016. The role of inter-organizational networks in enabling or delaying disruptive innovation: a case study of mVoIP. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 31(6), pp.722-731
Lustosa, T.C., Loschi, H.J., Iano, Y. and Moretti, A., 2015, June. The importance of integrated network management and telecom service through time. In Telecommunications (IWT), 2015 International Workshop on (pp. 1-5). IEEE
McLaren, G., 2017. Hong Kong's Fibre Broadband Market.Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 5(3)
Medudula, M.K., Sagar, M. and Gandhi, R.P., 2016. Telecom Players, Regulatory Bodies, International Organizations and Regional Telecom Statistics: Global Overview. In Telecom Management in Emerging Economies (pp. 19-39). Springer, New Delhi.
Meidl, D., 2016. Corporate Governance and Corporate Control. The Market for Corporate Control in Australia. GRIN Verlag.
Michalis, M., 2016. New networks, old market structures? The race to next generation networks in the EU and calls for a new regulatory paradigm. Simpson, S.; Puppis, M. & Van den Bulk (eds.) European Media Policy for the Twenty-First Century: Assessing the Past, Setting Agendas for the Future. London: Routledge, pp.139-160.
Moorhead, S., 2015. Ericsson celebrates 125 years in Australia. Australian Journal of Telecommunications and the Digital Economy, 3(4), p.1.
Onyeajuwa, M.K., 2017. Institutions and consumers: Assertion of ordinary consumer interest in the Nigerian digital mobile telecommunications market. Telecommunications Policy, 41(7-8), pp.642-650
Son, I., Lee, H. and Kim, J., 2015. Preannouncement effect of innovative new product on global telecom industry: focused on iPhone. Indian Journal of Science and Technology, 8(24)
Stewart, J., Kent, P. and Routledge, J., 2015. The association between audit partner rotation and audit fees: Empirical evidence from the Australian market. Auditing: A Journal of Practice & Theory, 35(1), pp.181-197.
Subramanian, P. and Palaniappan, S., 2015. Telecom Data Integration and Analytics-Proposed Model to Enhance Customer Experience. International Journal of Conceptions on Computing and Information Technology. Malaysia University of Science and Technology. Malaysia, p.6
Vodafone Australia. (2018). Information about Vodafone.. [online] Available at: https://www.vodafone.com.au/about/company [Accessed 27 Nov. 2018].
Younus, S., Afzal, S. and Ahsan, A., 2016. Changing Trends in Supplier Evaluation Criteria in Telecom Sector in Pakistan.International Journal of Innovation, Management and Technology, 7(6), p.238
Zhang, Y.A., 2014. A Case Study on Collaboration in the Australian Mobile Telecommunication Market. In Collaboration in the Australian and Chinese Mobile Telecommunication Markets (pp. 167-196). Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg