* Nature of the website
StarHub website is www.starhub.com.sg. It uses both the top level domains which are the generic code and the country code. Generic code refers to the .com which is controlled by ICANN in the United States. Country code refers to the .sg which is controlled by the respective country.
Communication, the process of sharing ideas, information and messages, is easy and fast because there is no subscription fee for the usage in this website. For example their Websms feature can be used for free and does not require any signing up if you are sending a short message to a StarHub subscriber. It also allows them to send you a message back in the form of a short message service (sms) which appears on your computer. Information can flow freely since there is no barrier in the reviews of current mobile phones and plans. Also, articles regarding the company can be viewed anytime and there is a link, Newsroom, which offers this service. It is easy to search for information because of the ?search? feature which can be found in the website.
Communication helps to improve the quality of public services which offers electronic publishing. They can announce various promotions and offers directly to the customers instead of printing it and having to distribute them out. This threatens to spoil the market of the go-in-betweens since the top players can reach their customers directly and cheaply. Examples of such include the data found on the website, reference in the mobile pages, the news room and speeches from the various top managers in the company.
For certain features, existing StarHub subscribers have to sign up and use their username and password in order to be allowed to access the service. Customers will only feel safe to use these features if they are secure and protected. Privacy is very important and needs the trust between the customer and the company, in order for these features to be used. Cookies are placed on notebooks by a business to monitor any revisit.
There are challenges of having a website for a company. There is a high proliferation of online fraud which includes credit card frauds and bogus virtual storefronts, which actually do not exist. There is also a high prevalence of computer crimes. One main crime is the destruction of business databases by crackers and hackers. Companies which have their websites online have to be sure to be able to prevent these events from occurring and disrupting the business. StarHub has a privacy statement which everyone who visits the website should read before revealing any personal information about them obligingly.
* The Strengths
In the mobile phone industry, we have 3 major players at present. We are focusing on StarHub. StarHub has many advantages over M1 and SingTel like their SCV cable television and their presence.
StarHub provides cable television where it has already established a market share in the television industry. They have programmes catering for different ages and preferences. They have many channels to choose from and provide special packages like giving a certain number of channels at an amount. The types of channels are not limited. Now StarHub has also come up with a new and improved way of watching television. The new digital cable is their newest product with fifty channels and true digital video quality, user-friendly interactive screens. In order to attract customers, StarHub provides a demo to convince them. Customers are given benefits like 20% discount for three months and their price plans are very attractive and considered inexpensive.
Although StarHub has one of the lowest market shares in the mobile industry, they also provide attractive plans like Power Chat 300 and 100. Their billings of outgoing calls are calculated on the per second basis which is cheaper as compared to M1 and SingTel. They also provide free SMS to a limited amount but are quite a lot and also have free incoming call. For Power Chat 300, incoming call will be a choice of day or night and 900 free SMS. It is the same for Power Chat 100 except that it has only 300 free SMS. Internet SMSing is free through internet but is up to a limit per day. StarHub has made GPRS available in mobile phones so that we could access the internet with our phones.
StarHub provides value-added services like call barring and multi-party call. Call barring is a service whereby unwanted outgoing and incoming calls are blocked. It is useful for business people as they may not want to be disturbed during meetings or office hours. Multi-party call in short is known as conference calling where by a maximum of six people could be talking at the same time.
StarHub has practice rollover time. This means that if the free minutes that were given for the month is not used up, it will be brought forward to the next month.
* The Weakness
Firstly, one weakness of StarHub is that it is established and set up at a much later date as compared to the long established SingTel. StarHub was incorporated on 7 May, 1998 while the official launch is on 1 April, 2000. On the other hand, SingTel was incorporated in March 1992 and became a public company in October 1993. In this case, SingTel had already captured much of the market share and built up a well reputable name that is sought after by consumers. StarHub, being new, is foreign to local consumers. They need to take time to penetrate into the local market and gain trust from users. Hence, less people might visit StarHub web compared to SingTel.
Furthermore, SingTel is Asia?s leading communications company. It has established a global presence with 31 global offices set up in 15 countries and territories such as, Australia, China, Europe, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, USA, Vietnam and Singapore. Its? first overseas office was set up in May 1993 in New York City. Being a global company, it appears more impressive to consumers. While for StarHub, it is a Singapore-based info-communications company with no global company as yet. Hence, it will be a disadvantage to them.
In addition, SingTel is actively involved in community and social development of Singapore. They contribute significantly to charities and community projects to help bring about a better quality of life to the less privileged in the community and enrich the lives of Singaporeans through support in local arts, education and sports. They also have the SingTel Touching Lives Fund which helps to raise funds for charities and young children. Through this societal marketing, consumers will be more supportive of SingTel as it shows that they are not only concern with monetary benefits but also the welfare of the society. In this case, consumers will be supportive of SingTel and hence inevitably make use of the SingTel web more often.
In contrast, StarHub had not started such programmes. Hence, this would be one of their weaknesses. Nowadays, wireless internet service available in MacDonald?s and coffee Bean are mainly from SingTel. StarHub has yet come up with such plans which this would definitely put StarHub at a disadvantage.
* The Opportunities
Opportunities for a company are shaped by the outside environment. The type of opportunities can affect the sales and image of a company. In our chosen website, it?s the outside environment that opened up opportunities for the company to exploit through the internet.
From the home page of www.starhub.com, we can see that the company is not only targeting consumers like us, but also businesses. As we enter into the page for the consumers, there are many others links such as cable table, internet access, mobile etc. under each of these links are many others links associated with their particular subjects. One example of opportunity shaped by the environment is the increase usage of internet and the need for faster connection. Under the online link, StarHub not only has information on the cable connection it offers, but also the different types of internet connections. It gives information on the current promotions and also specifications of each connection. Another example is the increase usage of mobile phones, over the years, the usage of mobile phones increases. Under the mobile link, there are links to different mobile plans and the promotions for phones with contracts. This is for customers to have a better understanding of each mobile plan. However, the competition in this industry is highly competitive. Therefore, StarHub not only provides information to the customers, but also allow customers to shop online, check their accounts with the website, rewards available for redemption etc.
In order for the company to stay competitive in this industry, it also has to open themselves to corporate customers. Under the business link, there are links such as large enterprise, SMEs, industry solutions, wholesale and international carriers. Because of the extensive corporate environment, StarHub offers a whole wide range of services for other companies. The information of these services are place in the website under business and sorted out according to large enterprise, SMEs, industry solutions, wholesale and international carriers.
As you can see StarHub tries to fully utilize its website to provide customers with as much information as possible and services that can help customers with their problem. The company also sees its web sites as a tool for customer retention, attracting new customers and a marketing tool.
* The Threats
StarHub is the smallest and third operating service provider among M1 and SingTel as its potential competitors. All these years, SingTel and M1 are been recognised by most consumers such as the older generation as the most established and user friendly service providers.
Most consumers will tend to find SingTel and M1 websites easily accessible especially their information was in details and simple icons. Consumers know where to source for what they were looking for without the hassle to go through a lot of steps on the website. Unlike StarHub, it does not give very brief details or icons on their website which mislead consumers and also caused confusion.
Currently, M1 had started an ?SMS a coke? which allowed consumers to use their mobile phones to purchase a can drink without the hassle of finding coins to slot into the vending machine.
For StarHub Cable Vision (SCV), they are thinking of ways to venture into the bigger market, by how they could get more consumers watch and apply for their cable vision. As in the current market, most consumers felt that there isn?t any necessary of having one SCV per household as SCV caters more of a luxury television programmes. Consumers find that it is not a need because per household were able to view Mediacorp and Mediaworks programmes without the hassle to spend much or to install cables.
The most popular problem that SCV is facing is about the piracy. Whether is on the internet or cable vision, some consumers tend not to spend more on the ordinary things especially on SCV charges, VCD or other software programmes. These result more consumers rely on pirated VCD and free downloading. An example is that SCV showed a short preview on how others do piracy and how they could buy unknown decoder which this decoder allowed them to watch the programmes without paying.
* The Approaches
In order for StarHub to keep up with the competitive markets, StarHub would have to create more road shows, newer products or plans, updating their website regularly and making the website more user-friendly for consumers. StarHub should hold activities on how to go about using the StarHub website more easily.
StarHub could try to be more involved in some societal activities in Singapore. In this way, more consumers would know about their brand and services.
SCV should feature better teachable and non-misleading show and advertisement so that consumers would stop using pirated things and might considered spending on SCV and also as one of their leisure programmes.
* Bibliography and References
^ Main Websites as our sources
^ Websites for references
^ Books for references
Suliman Al-Hawamdeh and Thomas L. Hart (2002)
Information and Knowledge Society