We have a marketplace for everything on earth but not for telecom services but even that has come true in the UAE.
Aladdin has launched a unified marketplace for mobile phone broadband and voice plans from Etisalat, du and Virgin Mobile, SIMs and smartphone devices, both postpaid and prepaid, in the UAE.
Customers can move from postpaid to prepaid, upgrade or downgrade their postpaid plans, mobile number portability or buy a new line.
The digital platform is designed to help customers discover, compare and make decisions about mobile devices and broadband plans offered by the telecom providers in the UAE.
“Only 20% of mobile customers believe they are on the best plan and 75% of customers believe they can save a significant amount by switching operators. Our objective is to simplify the customer buying experience,” Subhra Das, Founder and CEO of Aladdin.Life, said.
Moreover, he said that studies show that customers are crying for an effortless buying experience, they find it difficult to keep track of frequent price changes and customers want digital tools to customise their plans.
Osman Sultan, former CEO of EITC, the parent company of du, and Virgin Mobile and currently the Chairman of Aladdin.life, said the platform is a reimagination of the entire buying experience in the telco industry and one that is focused to help customers make informed decisions.
“The platform supports the efforts of digital transformation in the UAE by creating an ecosystem system that helps the cooperation and partnership and between all parties and maximises value for each of them starting with customers,” he said.
Das said that 65% of people in the US research before they buy it online while in the UAE, it is about 90%. In the UAE, he said that 7% of the device sales happen on e-commerce platforms while 93% happen at physical retailers.
However, he said that the market does not have the content to search and that is why Aladdin has come out with a tool for customers to search and make a decision.
The Genie Search matches a user’s current mobile usage pattern with hundreds of available price plans to instantly identify more value or more saving opportunities while the Bazaar Search, for new or existing customers, features the largest collection of consumer mobile plans and add-ons in the UAE market, with online and online to offline shopping.
Aladdin gets a commission by diverting the traffic to the operators and authorised resellers but the platform does not allow to make payments.
With the current economic downturn due to Covid-19, Das said that there will be two changes.
“One is that customers are going to move from conspicuous to more conscious consumption habits while there will be a new reassessment of needs and budgets. Some people have to reduce their spend and some may have to reduce their budgets. Some will move from postpaid to prepaid and some will move from prepaid to postpaid,” he said.
“The other is that physical trade has been impacted due to the pandemic. Majority of the telecom business relies on physical trade. What we are trying to do is to divert the online traffic to the physical stores to help the physical resellers,” he said.
Das said that the next plan is to enter into the small- and medium-sized businesses and looking to expand into Saudi Arabia and Egypt this year.
“We are working the operators for home services such as internet and voice calls and later with media services,” he said.