Customers believe that Mobicom is an expensive provider. A new SIM card cost more than US$10. And all phone services: local SMS, international SMS, local outgoing calls, international calls, are expensive. After Mobicom was recently charged with leak of its customers' detailed private information to state law enforcement agencies, I think the most of its customers lost confidence in its reliability. And, the company often encounters some kind of trouble of network failure while it tried to make network expansion.
I spent nearly two years living full-time in Mongolia and one of the things I learned very quickly was that Mobicom was an expensive Mobile Phone provider. Unfortunately, as far as GSM went, it really was the only game in town until Unitel arrived.
By far the most expensive (and still extremely expensive even on an international basis) was the roaming charges Mobicom levied for people with mobile phones roaming in Mongolia. Whilst the EU has imposed roaming charge maximums on member states, the pre-capped charges in Europe were nothing compared to what Mobicom manage in Mongolia.
For example, when roaming into Mongolia with a Telstra phone account (from Australia), the following charges apply:
To call Australia is $6.26 (Aussie Dollars) per minute. An SMS message is $0.47. To call anyone inside Mongolia is $1.18 a minute. What was incredible was the charge for dialing a Canadian phone from an Australian phone in Mongolia. That cost around $13.00 for about 1 minute and 25 seconds talking. Of course most of that goes to Mobicom.
By way of comparison, to make a national call in Afghanistan is $.099 per minute, to call Australia $3.63 per minute although SMS is more expensive at $0.82. As a further comparison, calls to Australia cost (per minute) $5.89 from Albania, $6.10 from Azerbaijan, $3.76 from Burkina Faso, $1.56 from Congo and $6.46 from Zimbabwe.
Mobicom is one of the most expensive mobile phone service providers I have come across in the world. Their local practices are similarly expensive. More on those later.
Recently, the company announced a new service, Birthday Gift, which allowed a customer to make 30-minutes outgoing calls for free within its network on his/her birthday.