Home Africa and the Middle EastAfrica and the Middle East 2009 Operators – the heart of total communication

Operators – the heart of total communication

by david.nunes
Jay_SrageIssue:Africa and the Middle East 2009
Article no.:11
Topic:Operators – the heart of total communication
Author:Jihad Srage
Title:Vice President, Business Development, Middle East and North Africa
PDF size:248KB

About author

Jihad Srage is Qualcomm’s Vice President for Business Development in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia leading the company’s business operations in the region. Prior to joining Qualcomm, Mr Srage worked at Texas Instruments (TI), most recently overseeing marketing operations for TI’s wireless terminals business unit. Mr Srage also co-managed TI Ventures, the company’s venture finance fund, where he directed TI’s investments in start-up companies focused on the wireless and telecommunications industries. In previous roles, he was involved in marketing and business development for TI’s digital audio business unit. Jihad Srage earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Chicago, a Master of Science in electrical engineering from the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, and a Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering from the American University of Beirut.

Article abstract

Mobile social networking has expanded mobile Internet access and moved mobile communications models beyond talk and text. The growth of mobile broadband is ‘mobilizing’ the Internet and moving towards an age of unified, total, communications. Social networking, user generated content, mobile advertising – it can pay for content, location-based services, mCommerce, mobile banking and mobile money all contribute to the mobile Internet phenomenon. Personalisation will create opportunities to target content, including advertising, to each user according to their specific needs.

Full Article

Incorporating Web 2.0 into mobile will prove to be a successful strategy for the mobile operators that can develop appropriate Mobile 2.0 business models. The rise of social networking on mobile has resulted in a dramatic expansion of daily, mobile, Internet access, expanding traditional mobile communications beyond the usual talk and text. The widespread global deployment of next-generation HSPA networks, and the growing shipments of 3G devices that should surpass those of 2G devices in 2009, means the blurring of the communication data worlds is now complete. This dawn of total communication is a result of ‘mobilizing’ the Internet. It is not only the likes of Facebook and MySpace that are driving Internet access via mobile. Mobile 2.0 encompasses everything that advances mobile Internet usage – from user generated content and entertainment to advertising, location-based services and mCommerce. This real-time access to information and services is helping the growth of brands and utilities that use mobile as a means to communicate directly with their customers. A bank might, for example, send clients their balances or a company could send marketing initiatives and promotions to raise consumer brand awareness. Mobile content is now much more than just ringtones, wallpaper and games; Mobile 2.0 applications let consumers define their own mobile content. The ability to deliver personalised content to the consumer is creating new business models for the mobile industry and related applications and content providers dedicated to using the mobile device’s ability to deliver relevant content here-and-now. This, in turn, has resulted in opening a variety of new channels to the mobile customer – a relationship historically governed by the mobile operator. The operator/customer relationship is now coming under increasing pressure from emerging direct-to-consumer players such as OEMs and ‘WebCos’. Operators must be able to monetise – charge for – this increased use of the Internet by its mobile subscribers while successfully negotiating the transition to a ‘smart pipe’ that capitalizes on its customer relationships and its treasure trove of consumer ‘metadata’ about user traffic, usage patterns and preferences. Furthermore, operators are in a unique position to monetise the use of the Internet on mobile devices because they determine device distribution and the ‘screen real estate’. With the right mobile Internet strategy, operators will not only be able to deliver compelling Internet content to their mobile subscribers, but also derive value-added business-to-business revenues with offers ranging from premium content to targeted, relevant, advertising that is valued by consumers. Such a strategy relies on increased personalisation and improved discovery of relevant content – from a global mobile population in excess of 4 billion, down to an audience of one. Increased personalisation and more intuitive discovery are only achievable by developing a better understanding of consumer tastes and preferences. This can be achieved through a more systematic and comprehensive collection of preference and profile information on individual consumers as they access mobile content. However, it is imperative that the key players work together to formalise privacy protection standards for consumers worldwide. Better use of profile information can offer a much richer and more relevant mobile experience and this potential should not be compromised by unnecessary consumer fear fuelled by a hesitant industry. The key is to make the information the mobile user wants easily and intuitively accessible without compromising quality; services should be easier to access than on their desktop. Given the limited screen area available, it’s essential that relevant content is delivered to the uppermost layer of the device. Widgets are the first realization of this, holding the potential to unlock the mass-market device user. Widgets are screen icons one clicks on to directly access specific applications via the Web. The industry has been dominated in the last 12 months by the success of high-end devices, such as Apple’s iPhone, that have revolutionised the depth and breadth of content available to consumers via Apps Store – online stores that sell downloadable applications for a wide variety of mobile applications. This has raised the bar for the industry by providing an exceptional user experience, however these applications only caters to the smartphone user. To reach the mass market, every device must cater to the user’s needs. Personalisation opens up opportunities for both mass market and niche content providers to easily bring targeted content, including advertising, to niche markets according to users’ specific needs. The mobile Internet allows consumers to easily access their online lives via their mobile devices, As the mobile device continues to become a greater part of the way in which people access information, keep in touch, and organise their lives, we will continue to see increased adoption of data services. An open strategy is integral to this success. Mobile platforms and networks continue to evolve, becoming more open to new applications and setting the tone for an industry that is increasingly looking toward the global developer community for the next big thing. By allowing the mobile device to replicate the Internet, operators and content providers benefit from increased discovery and exposure for their mobile content. While the global publishing community plays an increasingly central role in the development of new and innovative applications for mobile, development should be based upon a common language and common standards to enable faster time-to-market for new mobile Internet content. This will greatly increase the inventory of wireless Internet content available and will make possible mass-market viral distribution. Unquestionably, 2009 will see a flurry of new business models introduced as operators seek to retain the value generated historically through the aggregation of popular content in their operator portals. Transferring the business-to-business revenue models to mobile will be essential for operators looking to counterbalance the stagnating revenues from voice and text services. As mobile penetration reaches and exceeds saturation within a given population, the value derived from each subscriber (average revenue per user) must increase. At the heart of this development lies the underlying success of the evolution of the mobile industry from analogue to 3G +. Mobile 2.0 is truly total communication – the availability any content over any network to any device.

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