Celcom today announced a complete revamp of its “First” plans for 2015. Rebranded as “First by Celcom”, the operator says the new plans will bring a “first of its kind personalised Internet and call plan” that will “boost the standard of customer experience”. So confident is Celcom of it’s new “First by Celcom” plans that CMO Zalman Aefendy said that they are expecting a 50% jump in subscription, thanks to the new plans.
The new plans are unique in the market in that they are able to adjust data, voice, and text quota according to the usage patterns of the users. Celcom calls this feature the “Optimiser” and it works by giving additional minutes, SMS or data, if you’ve used up your quota.
Example, if you’ve used up your voice and SMS quota, the Optimiser will add more into your plan, for the month. Similarly, if you’ve used up your data quota, the Optimiser feature will come in to top it up for you. More about this a little later. Let’s talk about the new plans.
So what has changed?
For starters, the plans are now much simpler to understand. There are just two to choose from — First Basic and First Elite.
First Basic offers 100 minutes of talk time, 100 text messages (both, to all networks) and 2GB of mobile data plus 2GB of Celcom WiFi data, for RM85 monthly while, First Elite gives you 200 minutes of talk time, 200 text messages (both, to all networks) and 3GB of mobile data plus 3GB of Celcom WiFi data for RM235 monthly. Celcom First Elite subscribers also get a free second SIM (separate number) with 3GB mobile internet, 3GB Celcom WiFi, 200 minutes and 200 SMS.
Like we’ve mentioned earlier, the Optimiser feature is an interesting one as it offers a great deal of flexiblity for subscribers. If you use more data in a particular month, you get more data. If you use more voice and SMS in the next month, you get more voice and SMS. And the additional quota that you get from the Optimiser is very generous.
If you’re on First Basic, internet heavy users can get 2GB of additional mobile and Celcom WiFi data each. While voice and SMS heavy users can get an additional 150 minutes and 150 SMS if they’ve used up their existing 100 minutes/100 SMS quota.
If you’re a First Elite subscriber and you’re a heavy internet user that’s just burst your quota, you get your plan optimised with an additional 2GB of mobile and WiFi data. If used used up your voice and SMS quota, you get an additional 300 minutes and 300 SMS.
The best part of the Optimiser is that this is done automatically on a monthly basis. The Optimiser is activated automatically once you’ve used up any of the quotas in your account. For example, if you’ve used up all your mobile data quota, your plan automatically be optimised with additional data. At the start of the next month, you plan reverts to its standard quotas and will be optimised accordingly depending on your usage.
However, you can only be optimised once per month. That means, if your subscription has already been optimised for data in the month and you’ve used up your minutes as well, the Optimiser will not be able to provide the additional voice and SMS quota.
On top of that, it looks like Celcom is packing it a lot of value into the plans as well, especially for First Elite customer.
If you subscribe to First Elite, you get the complete Celcom VIP treatment. This includes, exclusive invites to pre-launch previews, concert tickets and you can even book a parking spot in advance during your next visit to a Celcom Blue Cube outlet. If that’s not enough, First Elite customers get preferential customer service treatment, including a dedicated customer service number and an express line at Celcom outlets. They also get first dibs on preferred numbers — these are the best numbers that Celcom has to offer. To complete the VIP lifestyle, Celcom have also a created First Elite-only lounge in KLIA 2 and are looking to expand to other sites in the future.
The one thing we really like about the new Celcom plans is its added flexibility with the Optimiser and a number of additional extras as well.
There’s the First 1+5 supplementary plan, where you can have up to five supplementary lines for RM30/month each. The supplementary numbers get free calls between principal and supplementary lines and each supplementary line gets 50 minutes, 50 SMS, 500MB mobile internet and 500MB Celcom WiFi per month.
If you’ve used up all your quota even after you’ve been Optimised, you have the option to add even more quota with the Max Up. There are a number of options to choose from depending on how you use your mobile line.
There’s the “Max Up All” that gives an additional 1GB mobile internet, 1GB Celcom WiFi, 250 minutes and 250 SMS, all for RM50. For data-centric users you can get “Max Up Internet Only” add-on in either 1GB for RM15 or 5GB for RM50.
Once you’ve exceeded your quota including the additional Max Up top up options, all calls and SMS will be charged at 15sen per minute and per SMS. For data, you will be prompted whether you would like to top up Max Up (Internet Only) or if you agree to continue on a Pay Per Use model. So this means that Celcom does not offer free excess usage on slower throttled speeds. Even if you go for Pay Per Use, Celcom has revised also its Pay Per Use rate to a much lower 50 sen per 20MB. This calculates to about RM25 per GB, which is quite reasonable compared to other telcos.
At the end of the day
And that’s all that you need to know about the new First by Celcom plans. So, how does it stack up with competitors. Overall, the Celcom plans look to offer better value across the board. You also get the additional benefit of having your plan optimised for your usage pattern, and that’s a really neat feature. On top of that, you a get a host of value added benefits that you don’t get with other operators. So if it’s overall value you’re looking for, the new Celcom plans is something we’d recommend.
However, if it’s pure data you’re looking for, other operators do offer more for less. Take for example, the Maxis SurfMore 75 plan. For RM75/month you get 5GB of mobile data but your minutes and SMS will be pay per use.
At the end of the day, Celcom has really upped the ante with their offerings and combine that with the many additional benefits and rewards that you get for being a Celcom customer, it’s easy to convince users to jump on board.