SaskTel surprised users this week when it announced the launch of its new phone subbrand, Lüm Mobile.
It’s a low-cost carrier that uses a membership model and eliminates the need for customer service representatives. Users must purchase data to make voice calls and send text messages. This is the only provider in the country to use a membership model.
But why the need for a new brand?
Lindsay Mazenc, a spokesperson at SaskTel, told MobileSyrup the company wanted to differentiate itself from what they usually offered and “cause some buzz.”
“We were noticing there are more customers preferring to manage their own services online with more affordable prices than our traditional full-service model,” Mazenc said.
While Lüm is a separate entity from SaskTel, which is a crown corporation of the Saskatchewan government, existing SaskTel staff are the ones working on the service.
Crown corporations pay a dividend back to the provincial government at the end of the year. No government money went into the creation of Lüm and SaskTel operates on its own, Mazenc said.
Lüm users pay their bills by purchasing a membership and turn to forums to get answers to their questions. The service is targeted towards those wanting to manage their own phone services. Users must have a Saskatchewan address to sign up.
Two levels of membership are available. A three-month option costs $50 and a full-year membership costs $180. 2GB of data costs $15, 6GB is $30, 14 GB is $55, and $25 GB is $80.
1MB of data gets users 10 texts or one minute of voice calls. Data can be topped up whenever more is needed. Unused data does not expire. A comparison calculator is available to help customers determine what plan is best for them.
Lüm has no plans to add more purchasing options at this time. This might change if the demand increases, but given the service is brand new, they’re sticking with what they have for now. At this time, details of how many customers have signed up are not available.
Mazenc said Lüm was “talked about for a while” but there was a push “this past calendar year to get this up and going.”
Lüm’s loud and colourful branding folded into the “buzz” SaskTel wanted to create, and further represents a change from their traditional service.
The new company is also focusing on environmental initiatives, given its top of mind for many, Mazenc said. Its current initiative is called Bloom with Lüm. Customer sim packages will contain seeds for wildflowers for pollinators and an explanation of the benefits of planting those seeds.
Image credit: SaskTel