Monday, February 7, 2011

Mobile advertising banks on 3G lift-off

A 2010 report by Google declared India as the second-biggest consumer of mobile Internet after the US, according to data from 15,000 mobile websites monitored by the company. It accounted for 5.9 per cent of the 14 billion web pages seen on mobile phones worldwide in a particular month, so roughly 800 million web pages were viewed in India in a month. Add to that, mobile ad networks estimate around 5 billion ad impressions were served in India in a month in Q4. Impressive numbers these...
But not good enough for Indian marketers it seems. Estimates of money spent on mobile advertising vary, but the most optimistic put it at around Rs 100 crore annually, a large part of which too goes into SMS based marketing. A measly amount when compared with the Rs 25,000-odd crore spent by Indian brands annually on marketing, 80 per cent of which goes into television and print. These two media in turn boast of 600 million viewers and 140 million readers, respectively, as compared to mobile Internet, which commands little more than 15 million users.
With roughly one-tenth the print audience size, mobile attracts just one-hundredth of its money share. The medium once touted as the next big thing after Internet is struggling to convince marketers to hitch on. So, what has gone wrong?
To start with, penetration of VAS mobile services beyond main urban centres has been the bugbear of the industry. Bandwidth limitation resulting in slow speeds and a small screen size that limits flexibility and interactivity aren’t exactly features that endear brand owners. Despite adding millions of customers every month, mobile companies haven’t seen a proportionate uptick in usage of VAS, thus restricting advertiser interest. A large majority of mobile marketing in India happens through SMS promotion, which, too, given TRAIs new rules on spamming is under threat of being locked up.
Although issues such as these have restricted the growth of mobile advertising, technological advancements, a critical mass of users and impending 3G wave might soon come together to change all of that.
Consider this. A Boston Consulting Group Report last year on BRIC markets predicted Internet users in India might grow to 270 million by 2015 from the current 81 million. Which means in another four years, Internet user population will touch close to 50 per cent of the TV viewer population today.
Current daily usage of Internet, which is half an hour, will go up to 0.7 hours per day by 2015 on the way to catching up with the US and China, which are both more than two hours per day.
India had 12 million mobile Internet users as of 2009, which was 2 per cent of all mobile phone users and 15 per cent of all Internet users, figures that will see a drastic jump over the next few years.
Assuming 25 per cent of Internet access will come through mobiles by 2015, the mobile Internet user population can potentially jump to 70 million, almost six times the size today.
Add to that an expected 3G mobile user base of more than 100 million in next three years’ time creates perfect conditions for the mobile advertising ecosystem to develop.
Mobile advertising actually could go at a much faster clip than digital advertising. Where Internet usage has been plagued by penetration and bandwidth issues, mobile phones have managed to surpass these problems. A ready mass base of active connections, coupled with better and low priced handsets and adoption of 3G could help it get to a threshold level of being considered as a serious advertising medium in the not too distant future.
Technology advancements are driving rapid mobile Internet adoption. India is going to see 3G services taking root this year. With bandwidth and slow Internet speeds no more an issue, many new possibilities will open up.
According to a recent Cisco forecast, in just four years two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video. Larger numbers of feature phones (non-smartphones), which are the staple in India, are getting more sophisticated. According to the report, the average mobile network connection speed worldwide doubled from 2009 to 2010 – and a tenfold increase is expected by 2015.
Advertising money, in turn, is waiting to be tapped. Worldwide, search attracts the largest pie of advertising on mobile. Out of a total online advertising spend of $25 billion, IDC estimates put US mobile ad market at $900 million. More than 40 per cent of this money goes into search. India also might see a similar trend.
With increasing availability of good quality low cost phones that can support browsing and apps, and a young aspiration led TG, mobile Internet penetration could mirror mobile connection growth of the last few years. From booking movie tickets on mobiles to locating restaurants or brand outlets and multi-player gaming, mobile phones will offer advertisers and brands the medium closest to point of purchase.
The world’s two largest technology companies have also bet their future on mobile advertising.
Apple bought out Quattro Wireless last year to create iAds, while Google bought AdMob, a mobile advertising network, indicating where the battle of future ad spends will be fought. Both of them see mobile phones becoming the premier device of media consumption and want the biggest slice of the action.
Apple might not have become the dominant player in India that it is known for across the world, but the iPhone launch four years ago turned the entire worldwide mobile phone industry upside down. By making software a key part of the device, Apple created a hook for users to spend increasing amounts of time on their phones, thus rivalling other media for consumer mind space. A strategy that worked so wonderfully well has ensured the mobile phone’s space as the premium content consumption device of the next decade. Every single mobile phone company has followed the same path, thus expanding the market multi-fold.
A report from Berg Insight predicts the total value of the global mobile marketing and advertising market to grow to around €13.5 billion in 2015, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 41 per cent over five years from 2009. This will correspond to 15.7 per cent of the total digital advertising market, or 3.4 per cent of the total global ad spend for all media. An Indian mobile advertising industry of similar proportions could change the face of marketing in the country.source

Top 10 Operators in INDIA 2011

Top 10 Mobile service Providers in India 2011

List Of Mobile Phone Service Providers in India

Below You can find the list of Mobile Service Providers and their Market Shares

OperatorSubscriber baseMarket Share

1Bharti Airtel146,293,07821.34%
2Reliance Communications119,351,43817.37%
5Tata Teleservices80,817,29811.47%
15HFCL Infotel1,132,4770.13%

All India706,691,164100.00%

Top 10 Mobile Service Providers in India:

1Bharti Airtel
6Tata Serviceable
7Reliance Communications

State wise Mobile Phone Subscribers: 

StateSubscriber basePopulation (01/08/2010)Mobile phones per 1000 population

1Uttar Pradesh92,867,835199,415,992427
3Tamil Nadu63,671,52867,773,611881
4Andhra Pradesh54,000,37984,241,069600
5West Bengal51,901,96790,524,849520
10Madhya Pradesh38,295,89672,362,313489


Africa waiting for MOBILE DATA EXPLOSION

Mobile data and applications are the next growth areas in Africa's mobile network industry, according to operators and solution providers at the Next Generation Telecoms Africa Summit recently held in Nairobi, Kenya.
Faced by declining incomes from the mainstream voice business – as tariffs plummet amid fierce competition – the industry is looking to value-added services (VAS) to shore up its bottom line, spurring rapid innovation in mobile services, delegates at the summit heard.
According to the delegates, latest data from Opera shows Africa's data usage grew by 331% last year – the highest of any region – with SA, Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya and Ghana making the top five countries in terms of page views.
SA and Nigeria made it to the top 10 globally, ahead of the US and Brazil. In addition, Opera notes that countries like Sudan and Zimbabwe have registered impressive growths in terms of page view growth at 4 900% and 2 300% respectively.
However, telcos will have to look at how to get spectrum at reasonable prices and ensure an efficient content delivery architecture said Patrick Puges, vice-president of emerging markets networks and IT at Telkom Orange.
“We have seen very strong customer expectations demanding competitive pricing and quality end user experience,” he said.
This has meant that even with the phenomenal growth of mobile data, revenue from VAS is still rarely hitting 10% of operators' total revenue, Puges explained, noting that however, that is expected to grow to 30% in the next three to four years.
The delegates noted that supporting infrastructure, regulatory frameworks and taxation were key drivers in boosting the growth of the data market.
Safaricom's CEO Bob Collymore added that access to affordable 3G handsets will be instrumental in driving mobile Internet in the continent.
“We have just launched [in Kenya] the cheapest smart android phone in partnership with Huawei at only $100,”said Collymore.
Globally, mobile data penetration is expected to hit one billion subscriptions in 2012 and although voice still remains the cash cow for telcos, operators seeing reduced margins are resorting to providing additional services.
It also came to the delegates' attention that Africa is additionally seeing a big leap in mobile applications that enable subscribers to access information, transact and get services. rest on -source

Reliance Starts World Cup Promotion

Reliance Mobile kicked off a series of promotional activities here last night for ICC World Cup beginning next week.

Vinay Chandhok, Hub Head-Gujarat & Rajasthan, Reliance Communications , today said "we are offering live streaming, scores and commentary on mobile platform and ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 theme song as caller-tune."

Vadodara is the only city in Gujarat for hosting this event after Jaipur, he said.

Aanshuman Gaekwad, former coach of Team India, was present at the Reliance Mobile's Trophy Preview here.

The company received overwhelming response to its value-added services (VAS) offerings from cricket loving fans during the ICC World T20 tournaments, Chandhok said.

Encouraged by this, Reliance Mobile is set to launch a host of services that will provide exciting audio and video content on both 3G and 2G platforms during the mega event, he added.

Mobile Financial Services Adoption Easier in Rural Areas

As against the existing channels of delivery of banking and financial services in the rural under-banked areas, adoption of mobile financial services (MFS) may tend to be easier, says a study by the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A).
Conducted by faculty members Rajanish Dass and Sujoy Pal, the working paper has tried to study factors benefiting as well as detrimental to adoption of MFS in under-banked rural areas. The paper defines MFS as one encompassing a broad range of financial activities that consumers engage in or access using their mobile phones, namely mobile banking (m-banking) and mobile payments (m-payments).
Findings of the study "indicate that the demand for banking and financial services and the amount of hardships faced in availing these services through the existing channels of delivery can act as strong drivers for MFS adoption among the rural under-banked".

On the other hand, factors like lack of trust on technology and lack of technology readiness were found to act as barriers to the adoption of MFS. Adoption of MFS in under-banked rural areas also witnesses lesser resistance due to lack of probable risk involved in technology. "Factors like perceived risk and concerns about privacy and security of the MFS that were found to be pronounced in the existing studies that were conducted on population having adequate accessibility to various alternative channels of financial services, was not observed in the case of the rural under-banked population.
This can also be related to lesser resistance among the rural under-banked in switching from the existing channels of financial service delivery to MFS as compared to the population that is comfortable with the accessibility and quality of the banking and financial services available to them through the existing channels," the study further states.
The study also revealed that the demand of core banking and financial services as well as hardships faced by the population in availing such services through existing channels of delivery were prime drivers for adoption of mobile enabled financial services among the rural under-banked. As for the prime bottlenecks, the paper suggest lack of trust and low technology readiness as deterrents in adoption of MFS.
Moreover, highlighting perceived financial cost as a matter of concern among the rural people, the study suggests that such bottlenecks "could be removed or reduced through increased awareness and usage among the peers".source

Last.fm Moves to Paid Content Model

Champion of free music streaming services, has pulled an about-face, and is largely moving to a paid subscriber model for its mobile service on smartphones and tablets. Starting next Tuesday, February 15th, Last.fm's "radio service" in its mobile apps, and some home entertainment devices will "become an ad-free, subscriber-only feature" according to an official blog posting. It'll remain free-to-access on its website in the U.S., U.K., and Germany and for U.S. and U.K. Xbox and "Windows Mobile 7 phones" and through its desktop app.
What's the reasoning here? Money, of course. The blog posting explains why the change is due to a desire to move to an ad-supported model. In the U.S., Germany, and U.K. the free streaming model for desktop access to Last.FM's tracks works, with enough eyeballs-on the adverts to bring income to Last.fm. But in "other markets and on emerging mobile and home entertainment devices, it is not practical for us to deliver an ad-supported radio service." Last.fm spins it as a move to deliver "what we believe is the highest quality, lowest cost ad-free music service in the world," which may or may not be true. What is certainly true is that the experimental ad-model just isn't delivering enough cash.
In some senses, this move is not at all surprising: Similar services are already using a paid-only model to deliver streaming music, and Last.fm notes this "change brings us in line with other music services that already charge you." To maintain its user base, Last.fm is pricing the service carefully--"for the cost of a fancy coffee" ($3) you'll get one month's access over "all platforms."
But the move could be taken as a bad sign for Last.fm itself, and also for Spotify's oft-delayed entry to the U.S. market. For starters, erecting a paywall hasn't exactly been a smart move for the newspaper industry, and though a paid subscription music service beats digital music industry-leader Apple to the punch (it's long-awaited subscription service has yet to surface) it's not as attractive to consumers as free-access, even given Last.fm's strong brand reputation.
Negotiations with the recording industry are apparently a big barrier to Spotify's U.S. entry, (with free access to content being a large stumbling block), and the music business may become more reluctant to license its music if that's proven to be an unsuccessful financial model.


Outdoor media has been trying to re-invent itself for quite some time now. The latest attempt comes from Amobee Media Systems which announced a new proximity marketing model for advertisers that promises to deliver 100% measurable, performance-based campaigns. The idea comes from fusing traditional outdoor media with the power of mobile technology, allowing for interactive experiences.
The technology can locate a user and identify what mobile device they are using to personalize the campaign for each user and enable interaction with outdoor media via SMS, Bluetooth or WiFi.
Under Amobee’s new approach, advertisers only pay on a performance basis each time a mobile user interacts with the outdoor media, whether it’s a billboard in a subway, a sign at a bus stop, or a poster in the lobby of a movie theater.
In recent months, the company had completed campaigns in major cities such as New York, Boston, Sydney, London and Cape Town, attracting Fortune 500 advertisers like Nokia and Orange/France Telecom.source

Video Call Based YouTube Uploads

At the VAS India conference last week, Jai Maroo, Director, Shemaroo Entertainment, said that the company is demoing a YouTube upload service with two partners: a user can make a video call, press * to record a video, and press # to upload it to YouTube; the service would require users to connect their YouTube account with their number, and the video, once uploaded would automatically be tagged with their mobile number.
Maroo made this point in the context of an underlying debate on packet switched (data access) versus circuit switched (point to point, call based) serving of videos on 3G, saying that one should not underestimate the importance of making access and delivery of services easy to use; his take was that the circuit switched delivery of content is significantly easier to use than packet switched. “Packet switching has advantages: there’s no call drop, works with multiple bandwidth speeds, and is better in the long term. But in terms of the user experience, circuit switching or video calling is much easier to use versus WAP. I think video calling wil be a key factor in driving adoption of 3g, because its simple,” he said.
What will drive 3G VAS adoption?

- Simplicity of access and navigation:
Apart from video calling, apps will play a key role, since they allow you to customize the user interface in a manner that WAP cannot.
- Content: not just any content, but time-relevant content. Also, ‘content which you can’t watch in your living room’: Maroo mentioned the rise of channels like UTV Bindass in two-TV households, “which have shows that people are hungry for content, which they can’t watch in their living rooms. That will work on mobile. You need a slew of services. If there’s one thing that the Internet has taught us, it is that there is no one size fits all. Everything coexists and drives adoption.” Shemaroo services 27 languages in audio.
Notes from Maroo’s Talk:
- The challenge for 3G according to Maroo is that there’s no national player, and there are network issues on the technology front: the 3G rollout has not been smooth.
- On the content side, there are new rights issues – some of the content doesn’t have mobile rights.
- TV producers will have to decide whether they modify their programming to suit mobile, or launch a separate feed for mobile. Are people going to see on mobile what they see in a movie theater? Not really.
- Symbiotic relationship between TV and Mobile: Take american idol, mobile by itself does not build that kind of brand, while on the other hand TV drives traffic to mobile, which builds stickiness, and that builds mobile. 24 launched mobisodes that filled the gap between two episodes of a weekly TV show. The BBC modifed the direction of the story on the basis of what people are watching.source

Internet Users Doubled in 2010

Only 2.5% of total mobile subscribers are using mobile internet services according to the data provided by the Georgian National Communications Commission.  
According to the same data, the total number of mobile internet users was 445,489 as of 2010, out of which 417,640 subscribers were using GPRS internet, 19,656 - WAP/GPRS service and the remaining 8,193 were using HSDPA internet service.
The figures of mobile users have doubled compared to the year 2008 when total mobile internet service users were 215,701. The figures increased in 2009 - reaching 284,633 subscribers.
The total income from mobile internet service reached 3,773,588 GEL as of the first quarter of 2010. Total income exceeded 14 million GEL in 2009 and 12 million GEL in 2008.
As representatives of telecommunication companies said, the demand for mobile internet has doubled during the past two years especially.
“Bali is really now a dating service, if you really look at what the kids are doing with Bali they are spending more time on the internet than they are on the phone, so what we find is that we have invested a huge amount of money into our date network and we are constantly upgrading it, we are finding that young people are now using dating services more and more. It used to be SMS, but now it’s facebook, and email, chat, basically using your telephone as a computer,” said David Lee, General Director of Magticom.
Beeline told the FINANCIAL that demand for mobile internet approximately doubled during 2010.
“Demand for mobile internet has rapidly grown during the last few years, especially in the last 2 years. It is related to growing tourism infrastructure, because it is not possible to find access to fixed internet (ADLS, fiber optics, etc) everywhere, the only way to connect to the internet is via mobile phone,” a Beeline spokesperson told us. 
More than 20% of all Beeline subscribers use the internet on a regular basis.
The majority of mobile internet users are the teenage and middle aged segments of the population, basically surfing social network pages and checking emails.
“The reason for increased demand for mobile internet service is mainly the vast availability of the mobile networks, and subscribers’ demand for mobile services such as email and surfing ability on-the-go,” declared Irakli Lobzhanidze, Marketing Manager at Magticom.
As Lobzhanidze added the most surfed web pages are social networks such as facebook, internet search sites and mail.
“People have started to travel all over Georgia. Not only the local population needs internet access, but there are a lot of tourists coming to Georgia who use the internet even via Roaming. As well as that, business is expanding and internet connection is now needed not only in the main cities, but also in the more remote regions in the country. In parallel such community sites as facebook, Odnoklassniki and Skype which tie customers together so strongly have all become so well established, that the majority nowadays can’t live without using the internet for communication,” added Teona Bagdavadze, Beeline spokesperson. source

300,000 subscribers opt for MNP in North India

The northern region of the country comprising Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana has seen a significant jump in the number of subscribers requesting mobile number portability (MNP) since the initial launch of the service in Haryana on November 25 last year and which was later on extended to the rest of India on January 20.
According to the data collected from the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai), there has been requests from nearly 300,000 subscribers till February 2 from the northern region, while 1,350,000 subscribers have requested to avail the facility across India.
According to the data, Haryana is the frontrunner with 212,000 requests followed by Punjab (75,000), Himachal Pradesh (9,000) and Jammu and Kashmir (500). Insiders feel, in the coming days the figure might witness a quantum jump in Punjab and other states.

It is worth mentioning that Punjab has the highest telecom density. The state has a telecom density of about 80 per cent as compared to the national average of 65 per cent. Further, Punjab recorded over 21 million telecom subscribers, Haryana (about 17 million), Himachal Pradesh (seven million), Jammu and Kashmir (about one million) up to December 2010.
MNP allows users to change their service provider while retaining the number. In northern region, Syniverse Technology has been given a license by the department of telecommunications (DoT) to implement MNP.
According to experts, the requests will increase significantly in the coming months. Further, the service will increase competition between providers to improve their service, they feel. Also, in order to retain the prospective customers, the service providers are offering new schemes to retain clients.
However, consumer organisation revealed that many subscribers were finding it difficult to switch operators under the new MNP scheme.
Speaking to Business Standard, Chandigarh Telecom Subscribers Association President and Telecom Consumer Education & Protection Fund Member Randhir Verma said, “The actual number of subscribers who have requested for MNP would be much more than 13,50,000. We are getting complaints from the subscribers about the leading operators not generating the UPC number, which is a must for accessing MNP, besides other problems. We are going to take up the matter with Trai and Telecom Enforcement, Resource and Monitoring (TERM) Cells.”
To avail of the MNP service, a mobile user has to pay a porting fee of Rs 19. The user has to send a message to 1900, following which he gets a unique porting code. With this code, the user can fill a form of the new service provider. The process is expected to be completed in seven days.source