A mobile phone company employee took part in an interview on October 20, 2008 at Geelong in response to the research project: excessive mobile phone bills, young people and the relevant corporate social responsibility of the telecommunications industry in Australia. The paper analyses qualitatively the information provided by the interviewee.
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Therefore, based on the analysis, it summarizes five key themes evidenced by the interviewee. These include the causes of high mobile phone bills, different customer and sales policies, morality in handling customers, call rates and the age group that uses mobile phones mostly from the opinions expressed by the interview subject in terms of labels and illustrations of every aspect of each theme.
First, the cause of high mobile phone bills incurred by young people in Australia is a crucial idea pointed in the interview. The fact that most young people are failing to comprehend the billing structure for various services such as internet, numerous calls and short messages, as well as subscriptions to ring tones and functions such as video and still images, increases the bills.
For instance, subject 3 states, ‘‘… I see people paying five-hundred, six-hundred, seven-hundred, a thousand dollars on a monthly phone bill, and quite happily justifying the use of it…’’ (2008, p. 2). Young people, however, do not involve themselves directly in paying such bills because they are not working.
Much ‘‘…of the high phones bills are in my experience are usually covered by the parents…the mum and dad coming in to pay, accompanied with their son or daughter’’ (Subject 3 2008, p. 1). The parents take all the responsibilities of paying the bills.
Second, policy difference is another theme evident in the interview. Different companies have different customer and sales policies. To match well in the competitive market, companies have policies of handling customers. In fact, subject 3 says, ‘‘Because of telecommunications, especially mobile phones are extremely competitive’’ (2008, p. 7).
They certainly tell customers about the available opportunities pointing out how they look for opportunities to close deals and sales with their customers. As such, subject 3 states, ‘‘…certainly their incentives and coaching sessions, and I guess try to drive my staff to do that’’ (2008, p. 6).
The opportunities initiate compelling business, thus, maintaining an effective relationship between customers and service providers, as well as improving the company’s sales.
Third, the theme of morality in handling the customers stands out in the conversation. Customers should know the truth about the available services. In fact, subject 3 confirms, ‘‘…if you can put your hand on your heart and try to get that one-hundred per cent of the time, you will find that is what drives business and people keep coming back and they will pretty much buy what you tell them to buy’’ (2008, p. 5).
Companies check what is best and right for the customers. Subject 3 further states, ‘‘we may take, not make as much money but we find that by giving them the right answers and explaining the situation in choosing the best option’’ (2008, p. 5). This makes several people sign up for prepaid, thus, buying other handsets on a plan.
Forth, the issue of call rates, being different on different occasions, is a central theme that the interview addresses. Mobile service providers have different plans-consumer and business as well as different charging methods. The plans include a twenty-dollar plan, cap plan and prepaid plan.
Each plan has its own calls and call rates. In twenty-dollar plan, ‘‘…the higher you go, the more you commit to twenty, thirty, forty, sixty, eighty, one hundred…you got that much in included calls. However, your call rate dropped quite significantly’’ (Subject 3 2008, p. 7). With the emergence of cap plan, mobile phone users pay for calls on a monthly basis. However, the call costs seem quite high compared to the dollar plan.
‘‘The catch is the call rate is higher, so you reach that two fifty a lot quicker’’ (Subject 3 2008, p. 7). Moreover, low end users have a prepaid mobile card plan designed for them.
Besides, young generations like expensive phones having music player and camera, as confirmed by Subject 3 who says, “And to get this handset, you need to commit to a higher-spend level plan…any mobile phone anyone gets, there is going to be a cost involved’’ (2008, p. 8).
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Lastly, the interview sheds light on the age group that uses mobile phones mostly. While the older generation still uses home phones, younger generation uses mobile phones. The older generations do not waste their money buying expensive and several featured-mobiles. This is contrary to what the youths do, as they spend much money ‘facebooking’ and sending messages.
As a result, they increase the bill. ‘‘The older generation have worked and worked a lot longer not wasting, spending it on mobile phones’’ (Subject 3 2008, p.12). In addition, teenagers and school kids, as well as university students with fewer expenses to carry out, spend maximally on mobile phones. ‘
‘… I see their teenage kids having five hundred, six hundred, seven hundred text messages a month… they are spending hundreds of dollars on text messages’’ (Subject 3 2008, p. 12). Despite the younger generation accumulating greater mobile bills due to the unlimited free time at home and the colleges, parents still pay their bills.
Subject 3. Interviewed by Interviewer. Mobile Phone Interview. (2008) Geelong.