Dubai-based telecom operator du has unveiled a new prepaid plan aimed at those mobile users who spend a substantial chunk of their time on social media sites.
As Gulf News reports, social platforms are continuing to eat into telcos' revenues, but du says that operators must keep up with the times if they want to see some of that money return.
Fahad Al Hassawi, chief commercial officer at du, points out that the UAE has the highest social penetration rate in the world at 80%, compared to just 24% in the Middle East collectively, with the average user spending over three hours a day on social sites.
He says that such figures illustrate just how important social media now is in people's lives, adding that 96% of UAE residents have set up an account.
"There is a genuine need for the right social media offerings in the market and du wants to be at the forefront," he stressed.
Du's 'Easy Social' plan provides subscribers with free data for browsing Facebook, WhatsApp, BBM, Twitter and LinkedIn on top of their regular credit.
Fahad Al Hassawi says, however, that the announcement is not a case of the operator "surrendering to the OTT (over-the-top) players", but dealing with the reality in the market.
"We are offering what the customers want and acknowledging their needs and changing habits as well as our continuous efforts to simplify our products while offering customers the best value for money," he explained.
Data contributes more than 30% to du's total revenues, and du stressed there are no hidden charges in the new plan in order to boost profits in this area of its business.