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The Warsaw Voice » Business » July 9, 2008
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Polish Teens Tempted to Talk
July 9, 2008   
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Mobile phone operator Polkomtel SA has teamed up with British telecom billing giant Intec to make a grab for Poland's highly competitive youth market.

Polkomtel, which operates the Plus and Sami Swoi brands, is now offering four new billing options to its customers. Collectively branded as 36.6, the services include free monthly credit in exchange for advertisements played every time a user connects to the network; overdraft credit that a user can access if he or she is out of credit; extra talk time given for every call a user receives from another network; and reduced calling rates when a user signs up friends and family.

Polkomtel has over 12 million subscribers in Poland, but its new services are being targeted specifically at teenagers. "Worldwide, the teen market is good for telecoms to focus on," said Intec chief operations officer Gary Bunney. "These sorts of people make more calls than someone like me."

According to Bunney, the new billing options are likely to be attractive to teenagers because they have more free time than adults. They are more likely to be willing to, for instance, listen to advertisements if it means more talking, messaging and music downloads. "For my own kids," said Bunney, "the most important thing they have is their phones."

Although Intec has already introduced some of these systems in other countries, others have been designed specifically for the competitive Polish telecom market. Family and friend network systems already exist in Britain, for example, but are much more limited than Polkomtel's Polish offerings. With four telecom companies already in Poland and two more on the way, "operators are fiercely competing for a share of the market, specifically the youth market", said Intec's Poland Director Iwona Golińska. Bunney added that the four new services are the beginning, and that Polish customers should expect to see a range of billing options coming out over the next year.

Intec is one of the top three telecom billing companies in the world, with projects in over 90 countries.

Polkomtel's new services have been available to customers since June 5.

Hilary Rose Heuler
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