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On Friday, 8th December 2017, The Straits Times reported about the launch of our mobile service and mobile app in Singapore. Whilst we strongly believe in robust and independent reporting, it comes with an inherent responsibility for media organisations to be to be accurate, especially so when stating opinions as facts. We do not expect any favours from anyone but neither will we tolerate any favoritism. Fairness in any reporting is critical, especially with the standard that is expected from a national publication and not some tabloid.
A number of publications such as The New Paper, The Vulcan Post, e27.com and others have published derivatives from The Straits Times article, without independent fact checking or seeking any comment or clarification from us.
In my opinion, the comparisons published by The Straits Times are not a fair representation of our product, nor do they present the Singapore consumer with an accurate picture of the choice they have in front of them with Zero SG.
There are a number of inaccuracies or deficiencies with the reporting, either by misstating the facts as they exist; or by simply ignoring to or failing to publish other relevant facts that were presented to them.
I attempt to highlight some major deficiencies with the reporting here.
Zero SG Charges More than Others to Give Credits Back
The reporters’ analysis is lazy and inaccurate. To provide a more complete picture of our product against the competition in Singapore, we have put up a “Compare” page on our website. This analysis is based on actual facts and figures as they exist in the market and shows that similar plans in Singapore are between 51% and 700% more expensive, depending the provider chosen.
Zero SG is 60% More Expensive than Others
The writer here has selected a competitors “base plan” at $28 to compare us against and makes a point that we are 60% more expensive. This is inaccurate for a number of reasons as follows:
i. The competitor’s plan includes 4GB of data in their base plan as compared to 6GB that we offer. The remaining 2GB is provided by them as a promotion only when certain criteria are met;
ii. The competitors plan does not include any SMS and only 100 minutes of outgoing calls, compared to the unlimited calls and SMS included in our plan;
iii. The competitors plan does not include any incoming calls for free as opposed to our plan which does. Incoming calls are provided by them for an additional fee each month;
iv. The competitors plan does not include GST. The base plan of $28 referred in the article actually costs approx. $30 per month with GST;
v. As our analysis shows, this competitors plan is approximately 700% more expensive than ours, when all the inclusions we provide is taken into account.
In reality, this is not even the cheapest “base plan” on the market to compare us against. The cheapest base plan would be Singtel’s $20 base plan with 3GB data and free incoming calls.
No Other Telco Charges a $50 Joining Fee
Simply wrong again. Our analysis, with facts and figures clearly shows:
i. Our sign-up fee for the mobile service is the lowest in the market with no strings attached. It is $18 and not $50 as reported inaccurately;
ii. Every other provider charges between $38.00 and $63.00 one-time sign-up fees. In some cases when certain criteria are met, there is a discount provided by others;
iii. Furthermore, every other provider charges between "$200-$800 upfront deposit" for non-Singaporeans which we do not;
iv. The $50 sign-up fees we charge is Optional for Singaporeans and permanent residents. It is only required to join our rewards program using the Zero App, which gives our subscribers unprecedented value. It is not required to apply for our mobile service.
We Are Simply an Australian Company
While our project started from Melbourne, Australia, about 50% of our executive team, management team and lead developers are Singaporeans, majority of whom reside in Melbourne. So to simply say that we are an Australian company implying that we have no ties or understanding of Singapore is inaccurate.
Finally the big one.
The writer goes out of her way to paint our promotion in a negative light whilst positively mentioning our competitors that have a similar program with using data to reward subscribers instead of cash. The writer emailed our office seeking our comment but fails to mention the context in which our response was presented.
It was explained to her that as a company, we had a choice to go out and spend millions of dollars on marketing to get new subscribers. Instead, we chose to spend that money by giving more value back to our subscribers, rather than spending it on marketing during the initial phase.
Our service model is based on using various means to give subscribers options to reduce their monthly expenditure on mobile phones. Invites is simply one way to do so in the beta stage now.
Other ways such as Shoutouts, where the subscriber may choose to receive 2 or 3 highly targeted ads is in the works. Also in the works is our marketplace where part of each transaction can be used to apply credits on their account each month. More information will be provided on this as we conclude our beta stage in March 2018.
However, all these rewards programs are optional. Any subscriber can simply choose to turn these features off at any time and continue to pay for their service.
We accept that it’s the Singapore consumer that will be the one to judge us but, it is imperative that, that judgement is based on the most accurate information available to them and not just “cherry-picked” pieces of information to fit someone else’s narrative or agenda.
We hope to add value to our consumer’s life by providing them with unique and innovative solutions and our launch in Singapore this month is just the beginning of that story.
22 Dec 17
ZERO SG Launches The Next Step In The Evolution Of Converging Mobile, Media and Marketplace
1 December 2017, Singapore – Zero SG today announced the launch of the Zero SG mobile service and Zero App in beta stage in Singapore. The Zero SG mobile service and mobile app go hand in hand to provide better value for subscribers in more ways than one.
The groundbreaking concept is a revolutionary new way for mobile users to have a seamless mobile and digital experience. In a Singapore first, users are rewarded for their loyalty by allowing users to access greater rewards the longer they use the Zero service.
Mr. Glenn Mohammed, Chief Executive of Zero SG said, “The key to the Zero App is clean simplicity. Singaporeans will benefit from a premium phone service without the confusing price, discount and bundling structures. They are rewarded for everyday use, such as using the Zero Marketplace through the Zero App.”
“For too long, the model has been that new customers that sign up receive the best and latest offers. The existing ones have their loyalty punished by not having access to the same discounts or rewards. With Zero SG, they have the ability to reduce their mobile phone bill to zero dollars by simply using the Zero App in their everyday lives.” He said.
The Zero SG launch in Singapore comes as the first market release for the Zero Platform after extensive global market research in Australia, North America and South East Asia.
Zero Mobile was issued the Service Based Operator (I) licence to operate as a MVNO by Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) in late September this year and has gone to launch in approximately two months.
“Singapore beat every other market for us with her vibrant culture for tech startups, favourable government policies and a visionary Mobile Network Operator (MNO) that has pioneered some of the region’s biggest technologies.” Mr. Mohammed said.
“Singaporeans are adaptable, tech-savvy consumers who are open to new technologies. No other market made more sense to us to launch the Zero platform.” He said.
“We have strategically collaborated with national or multinational mobile carriers whose vision of the converging future aligns with ours. Our launch in Singapore is also a testament to the three existing local carriers, who have done an excellent job of providing world class mobile telephony services to the market.” Mr. Mohammed said.
“With all the recent changes, the carriers have had to adapt, and the launch of Zero SG is the next step in that evolution with one of them. “ He said.
Zero SG will be open for registration to new subscribers from today for 15 days only, in pre-sales phase.
Subscribers will be able to sign up on www.zeromobile.com.sg between 1 December 17 and 15 December 17.
Zero SG will start delivery and activation around Christmas and expects to take on board a maximum of 5,000 applicants between mid-December and mid-January 2018.
For more information, please visit our website (beta).
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About Zero SG Singapore
Zero SG is an Australian tech startup that has made Singapore home and has a focus on converging technologies in telecommunications, media, digital advertising, and content delivery.
Zero breaks new boundaries through seamless digital transition using blended technologies, overcoming barriers to digital freedom faced by subscribers. Zero Mobile focusses on key innovations such as automation with subscriber activation, service management and service delivery model.
As a digital technology organisation, Zero also allows retailers, brands and other advertisers to connect directly to a customisable, highly targeted and relevant consumer demographic using the Zero platform to drive up traffic.
Zero SG lives, breathe and love technology.
Zero Technologies & Zero Mobile
Zero SG will be releasing and activating a fixed number of services each month which will be announced at the start of that month. For the first batch, up to 5,000 subscribers will be activated over December 2017 and January 2018.
The Zero SG service is available to any Singapore citizen, permanent resident or holder of a long-term pass in Singapore. Doing away with the lengthy processes to establish credit worthiness of individuals and the excellent value the service offers, it is ideal for current prepaid users who are considering migration to a post-paid account.
As service activation and management platform is app-based, subscribers are required to use an Android or iOS smartphone. The Zero SG service is currently not available to subscribers that are not or will not be using Android or iOS phones.
Zero SG will offer a single mobile service plan for Singapore residents at $45 per month on a post-paid account with no ongoing contract. The subscription cost includes all incoming and outgoing calls, SMS (reasonable use policy applies) and up to 6 GB of data for use within Singapore each month. Additional data may be added by the subscriber at $20 for 3 GB and $30 for 6 GB respectively. Alternatively, 1 GB of data can be added automatically, for $10 on an ad-hoc basis. Zero currently does not not offer international roaming.
THE ZERO APP
The Zero App is at the heart of everything. It is the central hub for the user to access information and have the world at their fingertips. Whether it is using it for invites in the beta stage, interacting with content or accessing the Zero Marketplace for great deals, it is all done on the Zero App. Users can also access service features such as call records, customise their plan, find answers to frequently asked questions, as well as contact support.
By using the Zero App, the subscriber has the power to reduce their monthly usage from $45 to $0 each month by using various ways designed to add value. The choice of whether to use any of these methods is completely optional.
Method 1 – Invites
Subscribers that sign up with us during the beta stage will be able to invite up to 20 family and friends using the Zero App after they activate their service. At any stage during the next six months, if any of those invited become active on our platform, the subscriber will receive $9 per month credit. Credit is provided for a maximum of five active members which can reduce their base subscription cost of $45 to $0 each month.
This is a monthly ongoing credit, not just a one-off credit. It rewards the subscriber as long as both the inviting and the invited member are active and paying subscribers of Zero Mobile and the Zero App.
Method 2 – Shoutouts
Subscribers may also choose to interact with brand messages delivered via the Zero App, which will help them to go $0 each month. If they choose not to, then they simply don’t have to.
The Zero App is built with both the consumers and the retailers in mind with the aim to provide a platform that connects them directly, when relevant. Zero is conscious of what its consumers want and are currently only taking on retailers in specific sectors right now.
Method 3 - Marketplace
Another method provided via the Zero App is the Marketplace. Zero is currently in the process of collaborating with retailers to provide deals with best value to Zero subscribers. By using the Zero App, subscribers are able to not only find great deals on products they want, but also add value with the ability to bring their bill down to $0 each month.