Are you a camel or a canary? And why your mobile provider wants to know...

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Are you a dolphin, canary, camel or monkey?

That is the somewhat

by the telecoms operator Orange when signing up new mobile customers in the UK.

The animals refer to different pay-as-you-go price plans, with each geared towards different types of mobile users.

While the Orange marketing promotion has been running for several years, it has caused some confusion among consumers.

?That is because it is not immediately obvious that dolphins, according to Orange, send a lot of text messages. Do camels really make a lot of international calls, and are monkeys aware of the off-peak cutoff time? Canaries may tweet, but do they use Facebook?

Putting the accuracy of these zoological telecoms analogies aside, there is a serious point to make.

?For while Orange's promotion may be confusing, such market segmentation is expected to become more commonplace in the UAE market.

Currently, the UAE telecoms operators do not know their camels from their canaries, according to one regional executive.

That's because they do not engage in enough market segmentation, said Jorg Erlemeier, the head of the Middle East region at telecoms infrastructure firm Nokia Siemens Networks.

"Segmentation becomes a key thing. You cannot treat everybody in the same way," said Mr Erlemeier. "You cannot compare [a 15-year old] to a business mobile user."

While the likes of Etisalat and du have "started" offering greater market segmentation, "they still have a way to go", Mr Erlemeier added.

"They have started addressing it... But I think not enough," he said.

As The National reports today, the UAE's two telecoms operators

, with du

on the incumbent operator in terms of mobile subscribers.

On top of this, operators in the UAE and across the world face declining mobile revenues and difficulties monetising increasingly heavy mobile and broadband data usage.

With this in mind, it seems logical that the UAE's telecoms operators, as Mr Erlemeier predicts, will look to segment the market further. Such a move would aid the operators in, for example, selling premium services to business users, or limiting the use of mobile broadband to low-paying teenagers who spend hours streaming YouTube videos on their mobiles.

And so, if your telecoms company asks you if you are more like a camel or, say, an Arabian Oryx, do not be alarmed. Confused, maybe, but not alarmed.