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We run a lot of SMS competitions. They tend to be run on behalf of big spending multinationals that sponsor AFL or NRL teams. We made a conscience decision a few years ago not to offer our customers premium number "190" SMS competitions.  It has paid dividends for all parties.

Our thinking was pretty simple - an ever increasing number of people are having premium services blocked on the accounts. This tends to happen because they are stung with the ridiculous subscription charges by the ringtone and "adult service" companies. We are also seeing an increasing number of companies bar premium services on staff mobile services as a default. The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman is very much in favour of the recently enacted industry code of conduct with respect to premium number services.

Who thought that a few ringtones for $10 a day for next two months wouldn't be good value?!

Getting people to enter your competition is hard enough without instantly excluding a large part of the population. Our solutions was to offer competitions with standard mobile entry numbers - i.e. 04XX XXX XXX. With the massive growth of cap plans in the market sending standard text messages can be included in your cap value thus free for the entrant. Compare that to a minimum charge of 55 cents for premium numbers.

With standard numbers there is also no possibility of customers being hit with recurring "subscription" charges like the ringtone services. Customers don't have to check the fine print to see if your competition will have them paying any ongoing subscription fee.

Setting up and running premium number competitions can be a relatively expensive and time consuming exercise. Standard mobile numbers can be setup within a few hours and we can even use phone words (0400 SOCCER or 0411 14 SALE). 

To break it down - 

  • Access more people
  • No stigma about possible ongoing subscription charges or association wit ringtone/adult services
  • Cheaper for the end user / entrant
  • Cheaper for the customer 
  • Faster setup
  • More memorable "phone word" numbers

I note that Telstra themselves are starting to market standard entry numbers for their "Hero Message" campaigns. It really "just makes sense".