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Vive l'Europe. Five-week vacations aside, the continent has also managed to figure things out on the cellphone front. Some reports suggest penetration will reach 100% by 2007. Perhaps part of the explanation lies in their sweet airtime and pre-paid plans, something Karim Salabi, Fido's VP marketing, noticed while in Ireland a couple of years back and actually mirrored in Canada last June.

Vive l’Europe. Five-week vacations aside, the continent has also managed to figure things out on the cellphone front. Some reports suggest penetration will reach 100% by 2007. Perhaps part of the explanation lies in their sweet airtime and pre-paid plans, something Karim Salabi, Fido’s VP marketing, noticed while in Ireland a couple of years back and actually mirrored in Canada last June.

In most western European countries, you see, no niggling long-term contracts are necessary; you simply buy the phone and a card with minutes. That’s why pre-paid reigns. And due to telecommunications regulations, consumers only pay for outgoing calls and text messages.

‘I thought, ‘Why couldn’t we do that?’ Salabi says. The result was Fido’s Unlimited Incoming Calls package.

For just $25 per month consumers were offered unlimited incoming local calls and instant, picture and text messages. Targeting the telco’s sweet spot, the 20- to 30-year-old urbanite, the package had a soft launch in June of last year. ‘It went under the radar screen from a mass communications perspective until back to school. But as soon as it hit the stores, it was wildly successful for us,’ he says. The TV and print marketing campaign that started in September, ‘simply acted as a springboard for taking the sales to the next level.’ And, he adds, ‘It ended up being a very successful summer even though historically, it’s very quiet during those months.’