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New S’pore MVNO Gorilla Mobile lets you turn unused mobile data into digital crypto tokens

gorilla mobile

A new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) has just launched in Singapore. Called Gorilla Mobile, it targets PMETs (professionals, managers, executives and technicians), as well as local and global businesses.

As a virtual telco, it operates on the M1 network for network coverage, and MyRepublic for Operating Support System and Business Support System enterprise telco managed services.

In a media briefing earlier today, Gorilla Mobile’s founder and CEO Xanne Leo, said that it is hoping to revolutionise the telco industry with Singapore’s first service-on-demand model and unique SwitchBack feature.

“All telcos simply assume that everybody want and need more data. However, we found out that this is not true,” said Xanne.

With Gorilla Mobile, users pay only for what they use to ensure a fair and modular way of using and paying for mobile services.

Explaining further about the service-on-demand model, she likened it to Netflix where a user pays a fixed monthly subscription fee to gain access to all sorts of TV shows and movies in different genres and languages.

(Think of it as) Netflix is going to introduce a flexible, customisable package so that you can have a more personalised experience. All you need to do is tell me, at the beginning of every month, how many comedy movies you are going to watch and how many hours of horror movies you think you are going to consume that month.

If you didn’t select documentaries, it will not show on your profile at all. All this is really easy and flexible because you can change the entire combo for the next month at the click of a button. (For) most of us, this is probably not going to translate into a very good user experience, but that is exactly what’s happening in the telco space right now.

– Xanne Leo, founder and CEO of Gorilla Mobile

She sees this as a “very demanding model”, in which it demands that users have expert knowledge on the features and benefits so that they can make an informed decision. It also assumes that all users can accurately predict their usage and consumption.

This is why Gorilla Mobile chooses to take on a different approach and build its services and delivery in a digital manner.

“(Our services) are all accessible and readily available on the mobile app for our users 24/7, and you only pay for what you use,” said Xanne.

Image Credit: Gorilla Mobile

She added that their signature is its blockchain-powered SwitchBack feature. It is basically an auto switchback function that lets users convert their unused mobile data into digital tokens, known as GorillaGo tokens, which are powered by Ethereum.

GorillaGo is a digital asset which you can have full ownership and the power to mint it via their Smart Contract from anywhere in the world.

These tokens — which has no expiry date — can then be used to offset future bills, redeem other mobile services, or be shared with others such as colleagues, including those who are overseas.

By tokenising mobile data into a digital currency, users can easily share, transfer, trade your mobile data with their family and friends who are using different telcos in different countries.

Our SwitchBack feature can be compared to the Singapore Parking app. Users pay only for their parking duration and get refunded for their unused time. Through SwitchBack, unused data never goes to waste. Its value gets reallocated to offset, purchase or exchange for other Gorilla services.

– Xanne Leo, founder and CEO of Gorilla Mobile

Exclusive features that are unique to SMEs

“(Our) formula is focused on the PMETs and SMEs market,” stressed Xanne.

Pre-pandemic, she noted that many business executives in this market tend to travel frequently for work. With the Covid-19 lockdown however, business travels have been put on hold and many have shifted to working from home — this also means that they are connected to WiFi most of the time.

Therefore, Gorilla Mobile wants to make full use of this untapped mobile data and convert it into something that can be of value to users.

She also observed that the post-pandemic situation also demands some of our workforce to make international calls on their mobile at home, or are required to receive overseas calls on their mobile at home because they have no access to the office lines, which are equipped and bundled with IDD calls capability.

“Gorilla Mobile’s full suite of mobile solution is digitalised so you can access that on the mobile app easily. We built it for the work from home, work from office, or work from anywhere (type of) situation. … I think our solutions also need to be different to cater (to changing needs).”

Image Credit: Gorilla Mobile

Its Switch25 mobile plan starts at S$25 a month for 20GB of mobile data, 100 minutes of talk time and 100 SMS (short message service) messages.

Comparing its plan to other corporate telco plans, Xanne acknowledged that they “are not the most high-end, but also not the most basic plan available in the market.”

She also expounded on the fact that Gorilla Mobile offers exclusive features that are unique to SMEs, like its auto bill offset feature and team-sharing functions.

“(Take) for example a company that has got 50 or 100 mobile lines. All the 100 lines with unused mobile data every month, it will automatically be switched back to one company account. This will make accounting and finance work a lot easier for these companies.”

Additionally, it offers data sharing with anyone, regardless if they are on different telcos.

“Data sharing is (typically) only applicable for a specific data-sharing plan, and this has to be only shared with supplementary lines or fixed supplementary lines under the subscribers. Our unlimited share function allows you share any amount with anyone at any time — it does not need to be the same subscriber or has a fixed limit to it.”

Is there space for a new telco player in S’pore?

The telco market in Singapore is quite saturated already as Gorilla Mobile takes up its position as the 13th player here.

With such stiff competition, how exactly is Gorilla Mobile gearing up to capture market share in Singapore?

When you have a commoditised, homogeneous product, the fastest and quickest way to compete is (to) actually slash prices. This usually happens when there is a lack of innovation or innovation has ceased to exist, and it typically also signifies the tail-end of a technological age.

– Xanne Leo, founder and CEO of Gorilla Mobile

Now that we are moving towards a 5G era, Xanne strongly believes that there will be more exciting developments in the telco space.

According to their findings, when significant levels of innovation and technological advancements happen, consumers will move away from price and start focusing on service differentiation.

“I believe that Gorilla Mobile has unparalleled innovative service for the PMETs and SMEs of today, we have a better model, we have better service and we provide a better experience.”

Gorilla Mobile first started out as a travel SIM card company back in 2019. Their plans to launch travel roaming data cards in May 2020 was dampened due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so they were forced to switch up their business plans and pivot.

Xanne is aware that Singapore is a saturated market and to her, the “gold strategy” is to come up with a niche product or service, or target specific segments of the market. Innovation is also key.

“In Singapore, we are looking at 2.5 million of PMETs and approximately 200,000 SMEs — this is really where we would like to take a slice of the pie,” she said.

She added that Gorilla Mobile has secured collaborations and tied up with many business associations like Enterprise Singapore and Singapore Business Federation, so she hopes that this will help give them the network and market entry point.

Gorilla Mobile has been established with US$3 million of seed capital, and it is set to raise another US$5 million in Series A funding. The funds will be used to develop its product roadmap and for market expansion across Southeast Asia.

They are eyeing to launch in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam next, before exploring expansion to Indonesia, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and Taiwan in the longer term.

In the coming months, the company will also unveil new services including a global roaming travel data SIM card, digital International Direct Dialing (IDD), and Global Office Telephony solutions.

Keen customers can sign up for Gorilla Mobile’s Switch25 Mobile plan on its website. The plan is available to all Singapore registered companies, Singaporeans, Permanent Residents, EPass, EntrePass and SPass holders aged 21 and above.

From 18 June to 18 August, new customers, both individuals and businesses, are also entitled to a Bill Difference Reward of up to S$50 per mobile number, credited directly to their PayNow account upon successful port-in.

“As we are still in our pre-launch phase, gradually bringing our full services to the market, we welcome users to try our service and share their valuable feedback with us as we strengthen our offerings and roll out more services to better cater to their needs,” summed up Xanne.

Featured Image Credit: Gorilla Mobile / Geek Culture

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