While local telco competitor M1 might be trying to get back on its feet after a serious mobile network disruption yesterday, Singapore’s StarHub announced a plan for its prepaid customers to chat, text and send cute stickers via Japanese messenger app LINE at S$0.40 (US$0.32) a day or S$6 (US$4.73) for a 30-day plan.
While the app is free for download and usage, it still requires a data connection and incurs internet charges. StarHub is essentially cancelling out all data charges to use LINE for prepaid customers subscribed to the new plan. Available this February 15, StarHub subscribers can activate the plan by dialling *123# on their mobile phone.
The telecom company’s Head of Mobility, Chan Kin Hung said, “Singapore’s mobile prepaid market has much room for further growth, especially in mobile data use. To fuel this growth amid evolving consumer communication needs, we are happy to be the first local telco to offer hassle-free access to one of the world’s most popular social platform at a very affordable rate.”
“We believe our LINE plan will be well received by customers, as they increasingly rely on fun, innovative social messaging services and stay online for longer,” added Chan.
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At the moment, LINE has surpassed 340 million users globally, since its launch in 2011. In November 2013, the firm reported a US$193 million turnover in the third quarter of the financial year with 280 million users.
While Singapore is not one of its biggest markets, sensibly so given its small population, LINE claims that it sees the city-state as a critical market to continue its global success, and that it has plans to offer more of such tailored services through its exclusive partnership with StarHub.
Simeon Cho, General Manager, LINE Business Development Division, LINE PLUS Corporation said, “Our partnership with StarHub is a foothold to further our business in this region, as LINE continuously develops features and local content to enrich user experience.”
In the past, rival SingTel has also been very conscientious in bringing in partnerships with major messenger partners. It now offers prepaid plans for users looking to save money and spend time on WhatsApp, and Facebook for S$0.50 a day (US$0.39). Last night, it also announced its partnership with mopay, a global payments solution to offer postpaid customers direct carrier billing for digital items.
A spokesperson from StarHub also shared that there are plans to bring such partnerships to subsidiary apps of LINE, and merchandise giveaways to subscribers.