Monday, 26 August 2019 15:35

Will Circles.Life become the new King of the MVNO jungle?

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Digital image mischief by Alex Z-R Digital image mischief by Alex Z-R

In the circle of life, your uncle murders your father but you end up beating the hyenas, becoming King and getting the girl anyway, but what does that have to do with your phone bill?

If there's one thing besides night that follows day in the great circle of each day's 24 hourly period, it's that you have a monthly phone bill. These days, many people have their bills fixed by a pre-paid plan, so it all comes down to coverage, inclusions and quality of service.

So, when a new entrant arrives in the jungle already filled with all manner of players taking their place before Pride Rock, a new king has to do more than make alliances with hyenas.

He needs to be bold, brave, fierce yet fair, with honour, good prices and great data inclusions.

Now, I've no idea whether the newest telco in town, Circles.Life, will do any of those things, but we're told that it is "promising a more likeable telco experience", so it does seem very likely.

Furthermore, it will "launch in Australia in early September with the aim to give power back to the customers".

The company's introduction to the media, and thus to all of us down under, notes that "Australians are unhappy with the quality of customer service currently provided by telcos, according to a recent report showing that customer service complaints remain high", with that Comms Alliance report able to be seen here

We're told that "Circles.Life is arriving in Australia to change this and make the experience likeable. It offers a premium digital experience and flexible no-contract plan that can be adjusted to meet customers’ needs.

"This includes straight-forward pricing, no contract, bill shock protection and better-quality customer service that treats customers like people, instead of just numbers.

"Circles.Life’s launch in Australia will give customers an option to join a telco that puts them first and enjoy a mobile plan that does not compromise on customer experience."

Over at the welcome page for Australians, we can see the following message:

"HELLO AUSTRALIA.

"WE'RE COMING SOON!

"WE'RE CIRCLES.LIFE

"A telco that’s coming to Australia to show you that a telco can actually be more likeable than hateable.

"We’re focused on giving our customers an amazing telco experience.

"It’s almost time to be with the telco that gives you fair deals without a long-term contract, no bill shock and great customer service.

"We’re excited. Are you?!"

So, when did Circles.Life start? 

Well, it was founded in 2016, and says it "now has more than 400 employees in Australia, Singapore, Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia and India."

If you go to the Circles.Life website, you can see that in Singapore, at least, the promises are that "you're not tied to any contract", that you can "live worry free with 99% islandwide network coverage of 4G+ speeds", that you can "add on UNLIMITED Data to your plan anytime for $20", and that you can "enjoy same day delivery or self pick-up at any Singpost locations within 2-3 hours."

Whether its prices and plans can be as competitive in Australia, we are yet to see, but we are told that Circles.Life has "the highest customer satisfaction scores in Singapore with a Net Promoter Score (NPS) of 50 and Taiwan with an NPS of 30, Circles.Life is set to make the telco experience in Australia more likeable", and that its customers love the company.

The company also proudly boasts that it is "a Sequoia and Founders Fund backed tech company that re-imagines how telco services can be offered through a differentiated business model, technology stack and approach to product development.

"At the core of Circles.Life’s unique business model is Circles-X, a proprietary telco-in-the-cloud operating system (OS) which delivers a highly flexible and completely digital customer experience across the entire customer journey. The company has introduced this innovation to countries such as Singapore and Taiwan with more countries in the pipeline".

So, to celebrate Circles.Life arriving soon, I decided to reword the famous lyrics to the Circle of Life song. This re-imagining isn't my best, but in the limited time available to me, it will have to do. The original song is first, the re-written lyrics are below.

Hastily re-written lyrics by Alex about the Circles.Life

AAAAAAaaah such good price yeah c'mon call me haha

AAAAAAaaah such good price yeah c'mon CAALLLL me yeah yaya

From the day we arrive in Australia
And dialling, we call up someone
There's more to see than can ever be seen
More to call than can ever be called
There's far too much to Google here
More to find than can ever be found
But the sun rolling high
Through an online sky
Keeps great phone calls priced so damn well down

It's the Circles.Life
And it dials us all
Through cheap calls and hope
Through prices we love
Till we find our space
On the path unwinding
In the Circles
The Circles.Life

It's the Circles.Life
And it downloads all
Through 4G and hope
Through bandwidth above
They've set a new place
With contract unbinding
In the Circles
The Circles.Life

(All images digitally altered by Alex Z-R, apologies to Disney :-)

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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