Circles Life Singapore:

Our North Star

Background & Goals

Setting new standards, disrupting old ones

Circles.Life, a pioneering Singapore-based digital telco operator, brings power back to the people.

Established in 2014, the company was co-founded by Rameez Ansar, Abhishek Gupta, and Adeel Najam, a trio committed to disrupting the tele-communications sector by remedying the prevailing issues of poor customer service and an absence of innovative product offerings.

A country dominated by well-established telco players but ripe for disruption

Dominated by well-established telco players with little incentive to innovate, the oligopolistic market structure posed significant barriers to entry and growth.

The industry was also characterized by capital expenditure (capex) heavy cycles, a challenge that made the business model for new entrants even more daunting.

In the face of obstacles, Circles.Life wanted to achieve 4 things to measure success

1

An industry leading Net Promoter Score (NPS)

2

An Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) 10-20% higher than the industry average

3

A operational cost structure 80-90% lower than typical telcos

4

Agile go to market practices

The right telco tech didn’t exist so we built it.

“When we did research, we looked for vendors first. We soon realized that we couldn’t get to the customer experience levels we wanted with an existing legacy technology stack, so we decided to create the platform ourselves.”

Rameez Ansar
CEO and co-founder of Circles

Challenges

Outdated telco infrastructure, bloated costs and fragmented customer experiences

The founders realized that existing legacy technologies were not geared towards delivering the seamless and superior customer experience they wanted. They were too complex and inflexible, making rapid product development and roll-out difficult.

Cost structure and CAPEX

The cost structure of the telecommunications industry posed yet another challenge. The significant capex cycles typically associated with launching and maintaining telco services were in stark contrast to Circles.Life’s aim of having a cost structure 80-90% lower than average telco.

Radical change needed to happen

The founders saw a need for radical improvement in both customer experience and tech innovation in an industry dominated by large, established players. They needed a way to overcome the significant financial barriers in a traditionally capex-heavy industry, and to do it in a scalable and cost effective way.

Solutions

Circles X: powering Circles.Life, our north star

Recognising the challenges, the founders developed a new strategy. They built a proprietary operating system, Circles X, to create a superior customer experience and more competitive telco offerings. In turn, Circles.Life would become the north star for Circles X’s team to create and iterate better products for its customers.

Launching telcos with Circles X

With Circles X, the founders realized in addition to powering the Circles.Life’s business-to-consumer (B2C) model, Circles X was the perfect solution for other mobile network operators (MNOs) in a business-to-business (B2B) context who wanted change.

BSS and OSS integration

Similar to traditional mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Circles X would be able to integrate its platform with an existing tower infrastructure. A one-time connection at the (MNO’S) tower level is all it would take, and from there on, everything could run on the Circles X system.

Game changing results driven by innovation

By June 2022, Circles.Life captured over 7% of the mobile telecommunications market. This was a significant accomplishment, given the industry’s competitive landscape and the dominance of established incumbents.

Average Revenue Per User (ARPU)

Circles.Life achieved a higher Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) for non-contrast lines compared to the industry average. ARPU was 20% higher than the market average, underlining its ability to attract and retain high-value customers. This was a testament to the digital telco’s superior customer service and innovative product offerings.

Cost reduction up to 80-90%

Circles X allowed Circles.Life to maintain a lower cost structure than traditional telcos. It achieved an 80-90% lower cost structure than the industry average, which significantly boosted its profitability, an impressive feat in an industry known for its high capital expenditure. Circles X technology empowers Circles.Life to run lean operations from anywhere in the world.

Faster time to market

Utilizing Circles X also enabled Circles.Life to respond to market trends and customer needs rapidly. It developed the ability to launch new products in a day to establish operations in a new country quickly. This agility has not only given Circles.Life a competitive edge, but also has allowed it to adapt quickly to changing market conditions.

+50 NPS

In terms of customer satisfaction, Circles.Life delivered a knockout performance, reaching +50 points in NPS.

It surpassed the average telco NPS in the APAC region, and today, ranks comparably among top-performing tech companies known for their stellar customer experience. Most recently, Circles.Life was identified as one of Singapore’s best customer service retailers and service providers, ranking first in “Mobile Carriers and Telecommunications” category.

Going beyond connectivity:
a larger demand for more lifestyle products

With great customer feedback and a demand for more services in the market where internet penetration stands at 97%, Circles saw opportunities to create new innovative services. With that, Jetpac and Circle of Joy were born.

BSS and OSS integrationJetpac:
Our travel e-sim offering for global travelers

Based on data gathered from our customer experience team, the team at Circles.Life realized we had an opportunity to create a travel product. The team came up with Jatpac, a travel e-sim product that would allow anyone (not just Circles.Life customers) to add a travel e-sim to their existing phone lines. With add-ons that could also include lounge access passes and other travel perks, Jetpac has become a product well-loved by global travelers.

Circle of Joy:
Gamified rewards loyalty platform

With existing customers, Circles.Life wanted a better way to connect and reward loyalty. The Circle of Joy loyalty program was created to give customers various ways to engage with Circles.Life. With the ability to get more data for free, win prizes and more, the Circle of Joy loyalty program has become a strong part of the Circles.Life product offering.

Xplore:
A developer marketplace for in-app lifestyle apps

In a world driven by apps, we realized consumers could benefit from more in-app touchpoints. From shopping to digital wallets, the product team created Xplore, an in-app developer marketplace that allows any operator to launch a lifestyle app (their own or third party) to increase engagement rates and appeal to consumer lifestyle needs.

A laser focus on customer experience, market innovation, and tech disruption is key

The success of Circles.Life highlights the importance of innovation and customer focus, and the creation of Circles X highlights the importance of disruption and first principle thinking.

With the success of Singapore and our continuous evolution of both our operator knowledge and operator technology via Circles.Life and Circles X, these wins for Circles have only allowed us to help other operators looking for change.

For all products covered in this case study, we’ve also been able to utilize and pivot these features for use for all our customers, and always continuously engaged in feedback loops and ways to innovate.