Ever since the number portability option became operational in Albania, I’ve been looking to find out which of the four mobile operators in the country offers the best rates for my business and personal needs. If you are like me, you have to call other networks just besides the one you have your number with. So my challenge in finding the best option is predicated by the best offer with regards to national minutes offered for a budget of about 5,000 ALL a month.
However, to my continued disappointment, all the offers that I’ve considered, fail to impress me even a bit! Basically all four mobile operators have maintained the same service and national calling rates that they have been offering long before the “number portability” option became available.
Most are just trying to lure customers to cross-over to them with offers which are good for a maximum 6 months, after that you are stuck with the same old tariffs. Vodafone Albania and AMC are the big two player which stand to lose customers toward the two younger and smaller competitors Eagle Mobile and Plus Communication.
So, if you need to call a select number of people or if you want to create a small group of friends/family members whom you can call cheap, then Eagle and Plus offer by far the best rates. However, if you are a business level user, and need to use your number to call customers and contacts not strictly in one network, then Vodafone and AMC have long been positioning themselves to offer you more options to do that. However, they never come cheap and do not expect them to.
Consideration of offers based on my own business and personal needs
Eagle Mobile on their website claims to be the leading company with regard to the highest number of requests from people to cross-over (transfer their current cell number) to their service. However, their available prepaid/monthly contract rates are the same old ones. Despite the extra national minutes that you get for the first 6 months, after you cross-over, the rest is the same.
Plus Communication has a better offer in terms of free minutes available within their own network, but if you try to call the other operators, you are stuck with the same old rates. And their new offer for calls within their network is quite good, but hey if you run a business and your calls are directed toward the other operators, then you are out of luck.
Vodafone Albania. The company is pushing hard to convey its image as the only 3G network service provider in the country and also as the best community service – i.e. Vodafone Club. However, when it comes to business needs, their offers have not changed a bit. Obviously, if you are a large business, then you can get them to cut their monthly service rates and get free group calls, but other than that the rates are the same with AMC.
AMC. Being the first mobile company to be established in the country, means many business people still have an old number that they hold on to. However, their monthly rate offers have not changed either. Their mobile plans are a bit more straight forward than those of Vodafone, however, in a personal meeting with a Vodafone sales person, I was told that AMC is not completely ‘straight forward’ in their monthly billing statement. I have my suspicions but have not dug enough to verify it personally!
Final considerations and recommendations
With the advent of the “number portability” option, the big two, Vodafone & AMC, have been targeting the more mobile communities of users – prepaid customers, which is mainly made up of youth and people who use their cell once or twice a day and do not intend on paying more than say 1,000 ALL a month.
While, the “number portability” availability has not hit home yet, meaning, people have not yet realized that it can be done, most prepaid customers do not care as they do not expect to get much benefit from the new “six month” offers made by all four mobile operators. However, those who are conscious of their mobile expenses are starting to pay a closer attention and focus on getting a better deal.
If you are an individual user or family member, with a select number of people whom you call, then all four mobile operators have good offers for you, just look at Vodafone Club, AMC What’s UP, Miqte PLUS, and Super Riniring. Though Plus and Eagle compare better than the other two.
However, if you are a small business owner or just need to make calls to the other networks, then it all depends on your particular needs. In my case, I use the internet; I send a lot of SMS messages to notify customers; and make about 4 hours of calls to other networks. For all these, I currently use AMC for my business number and have another cell number for my family which I use to call them for “free” on a small monthly budget. The reason I use AMC is because I’ve had this number for several years now and I do not plan on notifying all contacts, nor trying to remember all the places I may have given it to potential customers.
So for me, the only option is to stay with what I’ve got. I’ve diversified my communications through calls, sms, email and direct contacts, so as to keep my costs within a budgeted level.
P.S. All mobile companies have to pay a fixed interconnection charge when calls are made from one operator to the other, and they cannot go below this fixed charge.