Author Archive for AshishT

Mobile Payment Value Chain and Business Models

A high level analysis of Mobile Payment Services.

What operators want: Partnering with Network Service Providers – Part2

5- Don’t try to deploy your application in Q4 – Forth quarter is all about volume. 40-60% of operator’s yearly network load is sold in forth quarter. No one will take time to market your application, since channels are only interested in getting the device into customers hand.

6- Supported OS/Device platforms – You are not going to find a buyer by implementing your application just for Microsoft os Or symbian. Make sure you factor-in the cost of porting your application to at least 4-5 devices and 3-4 different OS platforms. They will ask you to port your application on every single device in their portfolio – Don’t.

7 – Simple is still good – If you think you have a simple mobile application idea that can drive their traffic…you got yourself a potential $$winner$$.

8 – know your market – You have to show them that there is some traction in the market for your mobile application.

What operators want: Partnering with Network Service Providers – Part1

This entry is inspired by Mobile Monday Vancouver’s “Partnering with Network Service Providers” event. I attended this discussion and networking forum. Panelist were from Bell and Telus – Canadian CDMA service providers and from British Telecom.

To keep things short , this is part 1, part 2 coming soon….

These points are only relevant for consumer mobile applications. Rules of engagement for enterprise mobility are very different.

1 – Leverage all you can – They will love you, if your mobile application can leverage all of their technologies. Don’t just make an applications that only uses SMS or MMS. Build a business/experience so that your customers can engage via SMS/MMS and data calls (online viewing , downloading) and even voice.

2- Easy integration with operators infrastructure - Easier the integration, better are your chances of getting your application pre-installed on their device.

3- Don’t expect them to customize their device portfolio – If your application requires some kind of device customization (Hardware or software). Your chances of getting the application deployed – Zero.

4- Make it a win-win situation - Dave Mordue , head of strategic sourcing BT, was very candid about the reality of operators being big and slow. They are not very good at experimenting new concepts, but you are. Sell it.

Wireless Value added services cleanup in China

According to statistics from the Ministry of Information Industry (MII), China’s 426 million mobile phone users sent more than 200 billion short messages in the first half of the year. Last month, Worlds biggest mobile market started an initiative to cleanup the wireless value-added services industry.

Under the policy directives of China’s Ministry of Information Industry, In order to reduce subscriber complaints and increase overall customer satisfaction, several of China’s mobile network operators introduced new policies for all subscription services.

China Mobile Ltd., China’s largest mobile telecoms company with 260 million subscribers, introduced following new policies for service providers:

1) Extension of free trial period to between 11 and 41 days.
2) Billing reminders to existing SMS, MMS and WAP monthly subscribers regarding their subscriptions and fees being charged.
3) Conversion of per message-based SMS subscriptions to monthly subscriptions upon positive confirmation by the user. If no confirmation is sent, then the user’s subscription is automatically cancelled.

China Unicom, the country’s second largest mobile carrier with 130 million subscribers, also introduced polices to convert all per message-based SMS subscriptions to monthly subscriptions.

Response from China’s leading wireless Internet companies was mixed:
TOM Online Inc, NASDAQ listed, VAS provider believes the short term impact will be negative and significant. They believe, it would result in increased churn of monthly subscription base during the period of sending subscription reminders to existing users, and new policies have the potential to shorten the Company’s average subscription duration (from when subscribers sign up for service to when they cancel) to less than the current range of about 3-months, due to the addition of a free trial period. Although user subscriptions will be affected in the near term, the industry’s overall development is likely to benefit in the longer term.

SINA Corporation, another NASDAQ listed, mobile value-added service provider also believes that these policy changes will reduce the Companies ability to acquire new monthly MVAS subscribers and increase churn of the Companies existing monthly MVAS subscribers.

Sohu.com Inc, expects these new policies to reduce Sohu’s wireless revenue by approximately US$1.5 million to US$2.5 million per quarter for the third and fourth quarters of 2006.

China’s telecoms regulator has also released a list of 102 companies engaged in illegal behavior in the country’s wireless value-added services industry. The new list, whose names include units of software maker Kingsoft and Shanghai Sifang Information Technology, was published on the Ministry of Information Industry’s Web site (www.mii.gov.cn)

I think telecom regulators and Mobile operators are seeking to create an industry environment for the longer term wherein a significantly smaller group of preferred VAS players will be able to prosper and are likely therefore to enjoy larger market shares.

I don’t know the current state of customer satisfaction/billing transparency of WVAS in India, but I would definitely like to see industry initiatives to maintain good quality of customer service.