Yesterday I discovered the latest marketing stunt of the carrier I left for the one I now have here in Norway: Spotify Premium included in several of the plans. To clarify a bit, phones and plans are essentially completely independent here in Norway, so that you can have whatever phone with whatever plan. Carriers operate with the same technology, and have essentially the same coverage and speeds, so competition between them often go on prices for data, minutes, and SMS rather than considerations more common in the US. And now, apparently, Spotify is another one of those fields of competition.
Our second biggest (?) carrier, NetCom, just launched a new promotional thing where you get Spotify Premium included in some of the plans. These are plans with a specific amount of data, SMS and minutes included every month, unlike the more common pay as you go system that most plans use. The cheapest plan that includes this starts at 229 NOK per month, which is $38 if you do a direct conversion without factoring in the 1.5-2x price (and income) difference between the US and Norway, so technically it would be closer to about $23 in the US if you factor that in. Spotify itself demonstrates this difference in prices, with a month costing 99 NOK, about $16.50 compared to $10 in the US. Anyways, those 229 NOK for the plan includes Spotify for that month, 800MB of data, 400 minutes (those are outgoing minutes; we don’t pay for incoming), and 200 SMS. The price is without any subsidy for a phone, so you do end up paying a lot more for that (though we also have a legal max limit of 12 months for contracts, if you were do go for a more expensive, subsidized phone plan). Bottom line, a fairly nice and cheap plan as far as they go.
This is the first time I see anyone include something as third party and “different” in a subscription plan. It makes sense though, as Spotify is quickly becoming the app to have on phones. I’m fairly sure that the company got a rather nice discount on those premium plans too, and considering that its cellphone plans aren’t very attractive without it (if you add Spotify manually to some of the competitors’ plans, you end up with 300 NOK plans that have Spotify, but trades 300MB of data for 100 more minutes and 300 more SMS), I can see how differentiating itself from the competition this way is a good idea. If you’re already using Spotify, this can be a great way to lower that monthly expense, and if you’re not (like me), this might give you a reason to start using it.
While I generally think that this is a good offer though, you won’t see me jumping on it. I was a NetCom customers for over half a decade, and the customer service remains one of the worst I’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of interacting with. I was several times amazed at how little the company cared about my business, which is why I eventually made the jump to Telenor, one of the carriers that are proudly listed as way more expensive in NetCom’s Spotify comparison. You get what you pay for, I guess.
While I won’t take the bait, there’s a fairly good chance that other carriers both nationally and internationally will follow NetCom’s example if this turns out to be popular. So, if that’s the case, and this eventually makes it to where you can benefit from it, would you jump carriers if something like Spotify Premium was included in the monthly price?[NetCom]