Банкеръ Weekly

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THE THREE LOCAL MOBILE TELEPHONE OPERATORS HAVE 36,000 GOLDEN SUBSCRIBERS

About 1,200,000 Bulgarian citizens aged between 18 and 60 have mobile telephones. For another some 2,200,000 people of the towns' population conversations over such devices still remain an unnecessary or unaffordable service, a poll of the agency for market research Market Test has established.The agency has carried out its poll among citizens aged between 18 and 60 (about 3,350,000 people), applying Target Group Index (TGI) - an international system for studying consumers' attitudes. According to Market Test, the towns' population aged over 15 is 4,565,000.The figures show that each third citizen has a mobile telephone. More than 61% of mobile telephone services' consumers pay their bills to MobilTel, 12% - to GloBul, and almost 7% are Mobikom's subscribers. Some 20% of those who have personal mobile phones are not actively using the service and have not answered the question which of the three Bulgarian mobile operators they are clients of. About 120,000 people of the citizens in active age are subscribers to more than one mobile operator, the poll has shown. Almost 8% of GloBul's subscribers have a telephone number with MobilTel as well. Ten per cent of Mobikom's subscribers have at least one telephone with MobilTel, and another 4% - with its competitor GloBul.As it could be expected, the largest number of mobile telephones per capita is in Sofia. Almost half of the capital's citizens from the polled group have at least one GSM. On the other pole are the towns in Northwestern Bulgaria. Only a quarter of the people in Vidin, Montana and Vratza have a mobile telephone and have already activated it. The surprise is that in towns like Plovdiv, Bourgas and Haskovo, the percentage is comparatively low - one of each three citizens aged between 18 and 60.Nokia is the most popular mobile telephone in Bulgaria. This trade mark is preferred by more than a fifth (some 242,000 people) of local consumers. Siemens is second with a 14% market share, and Ericcson is next with only 0.1% less consumers. However, Market Test's data do not show if the telephones are new or second-hand devices are included as well.Less than 2% of all citizens using MobilTel's services can afford to pay bills exceeding BGN150 per month. Almost half of the company's clients pay monthly bills between BGN20 and BGN50, and 25% pay up to BGN20.The main group of GloBul's customers pay up to BGN20 each month, and 37% - up to BGN50. The data about Mobikom's clients are similar to those of GloBul's customers. But they show that the analogous mobile telephone operator still holds the best proportion between the total number of subcribers and consumers with the highest bills. Almost 2,100 people, or 2.6% of the around 80,000 clients of the Bulgarian-British company aged between 18 and 60, afford to pay monthly bills exceeding BGN150. Together with MobilTel's VIP clients and some 1,800 consumers of GloBul, they form the group of the so-called golden subscribers (with monthly bills above BGN150) of the three local mobile operators. According to Market Test's data, the total number of citizens who do not worry to pay bills amounting to about one and a half minimum monthly salary, are approximately 16,000. The same number of clients pay monthly bills in the range of BGN100-150.One third of all consumers of mobile services do not use the option of fixing and pre-paying the minutes in their SIM-cards. But 25% prefer to buy cards with pre-paid time for conversations.Using the TGI system, including 17 indices (income, own home, own car, personal mobile telephone, etc.) Market Test has grouped Bulgaria's town population aged between 18 and 60 into four categories. The most solvent 10% are included in group A; 20% of the citizens fall into group B, and the other two categories of consumers with a lower living standard are group C - with 30% of the clients, and group D - with 40%. MobilTel's subscribers are distributed as follows: 26% fall into group A, 34% - into group B, 29% - into group C, and 11% - into group D. Nineteen per cent of GloBul's clients are inluded in the highest standrd group A.Terrestrial coverage remains MobilTel's best advertisement in its competition with the rival GloBul for attracting subscribers, the poll has shown. More than half of MobilTel's clients have pointed out that they prefer that GSM-operator because of the well-developed network. For another 20% the company's tariff rates are most important. Almost the same percentage of people prefer MobilTel mainly because of the good quality of telephone connections it provides.During its first and a half year of its operation GloBul has attracted clients mainly by its prices. Almost half of its subscribers have pointed out the company's tariff rates as the major motive for closing contracts with the second local GSM-operator. Only 12% have chosen the Greek telecom's subsidiary due to the coverage. GloBul is currently also preferred by people who found the company's promotional offers attractive (19%). Some 16% of its 144,000 subscribers admit to have preferred it because of the good quality of telephone connection it ensures.

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