Monday, February 21, 2011

Hip Hip Hurray

GSMA announces world's leading mobile operators will introduce NFC services

The world's leading mobile network operators have announced today that they are committed to introducing near field communication (NFC) services in a number of countries around the world from 2012.

Sarah Clark, editor of NFC industry trade publication NFC World and author of 'NFC Business Models' explains what the announcement means and why the operators have joined together to make the announcement at this time:

"NFC phones are set to revolutionise the way we decide what products to buy, where we choose to buy them and how we choose to pay," says Sarah.

The new NFC phones contain a high security chip known as a secure element which acts like an electronic version of your wallet and can be used to replace everything from credit cards and loyalty cards to bus and train tickets, library cards, door keys, coupons and even cash.

These chips can be built into mobile phones and other devices by the manufacturer, they can be integrated into SIM cards issued by mobile networks to their subscribers and they can be added to existing phones via special microSD cards or stickers issued by banks and other organisations.

"Whoever provides a consumer with a secure element can then generate new revenues by leasing space on the chip to other businesses that also want to offer next-generation mobile services to their customers," Sarah explains.

"In the GSMA statement issued today, the mobile operators make it clear that they plan for NFC services to be delivered using the SIM as the secure element, placing operators in control of NFC services — and future revenue streams."

"The announcement does not necessarily mean, however, that these leading operators have now found an answer to the need for a business model for the launch of commercial NFC services," she adds. "Rather, this announcement signals the operators' realisation that they need to work together in order to deliver the same global reach that a rival offering from handset manufacturers and others would provide."

"Essentially, the mobile operators are involved in a bid to grab land — and a significant share of revenues — ahead of expected rival proposals from the likes of Google and Apple in the near future. The move is likely to prove to be good news for consumers and for businesses such as retailers, transport operators, travel firms, brands and others looking to take advantage of the arrival of NFC services since there will be competing offers on the table and that should lead to lower prices."

About the mobile operators' statement:

A statement issued by the GSMA, the international trade association for the world's leading mobile network operators, says that "Many of the world's leading operators, including America Movil, Axiata Group Berhad, Bharti, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, KT Corporation, MTS, Orange, Qtel Group, Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefonica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor and Vodafone, have voiced their commitment to implementing Near Field Communications (NFC) technology, and intend to launch commercial NFC services in select markets by 2012." The full announcement is available to view on the GSMA's website.

About the 'NFC Business Models' research report:

'NFC Business Models' provides companies looking to benefit from the arrival of near field communication technology with the information needed to understand the issues, identify their options and develop a strategy for success.

The research report addresses key questions that remain to be resolved including:

* What kind of pricing models will need to be offered to service providers to persuade them to offer NFC services — and will they be sufficient to cover the costs of developing and making available an NFC service delivery platform and of issuing NFC devices to consumers?
* Will consumers be willing to pay for an NFC mobile wallet? And what kind of services will they want to use?
* How can merchants be persuaded to adopt the contactless payments terminals required to support NFC transactions?
* What are the benefits to banks of providing NFC services — and do the benefits outweigh the costs involved?

The 170-page research report was published in January 2011 and is available to purchase today for £797 (US$1,258/€924). Further information, a full table of contents and online ordering facilities are available at http://www.sjb.co.uk/models.source

Reliance to launch 3G Mobile services in Kashmir on Tuesday

Reliance Communications (RCOM), India’s single largest dual technology telecom operator is launching  of 3G Mobile services in Kashmir on Tuesday ,February 22.

According to the officials said that after launching 3 G service in Jammu, also launching of 3G Mobile services in Kashmir on Tuesday, February 22.The launching ceremony function of 3G will be held in Srinagar.

Officials said that the 3G services will offer features such as video-calling, mobile TV, video streaming and applications access at super-fast speeds on a wide variety of both mobile phone and personal computing devices. The company has done a deal with Universal Music for content, Nokia and Ericsson for applications and Motricity for web portal. The existing subscribers will be automatically upgraded to 3G services if they have a 3G-enabled smart phone.

They said that Reliance has always been a pioneer in telecom industry with its new revolutionary attractive plans. It has customized many attractive plans especially for the people of J&K to bring people living here closer to other parts of India.

Officials said that the Reliance Communication is going to provide employment to the youth of J&K. Hundreds of youth is already working with them. With the establishment of additional infrastructure more youth would get employment.

Applications – the next big buzz and opportunity in mobile space

A mobile phone has multiple forms of use and mobile applications only add value to it. Applications such as the Nokia’s Ovi Store, Android Market, Blackberry App World, Apple’s App Store and upcoming versions from Samsung and Microsoft give independent developers a relatively quick and easy route to consumers.
With the current explosion of new applications, it is expected that the market for mobile applications will be as big as the Internet, peaking at 10 million apps in 2020.
According to Samir Kumar, Managing Director, Inventus Capital, mobile today was like personal computers in 1984. Everything was an opportunity, he said, adding, “Mobile application is seen as the next big opportunity after the ringtone market and promises a revolution in active and engaging communication.”
Commenting on the developing VAS market in India, Ponappa PG, CEO, Emerging Markets, mPortal, said, “The advent of 3G, mobile number portability and high penetration of feature rich phones are the reasons why the application market will get a boost.” He felt that there was a huge opportunity in the bottom of the pyramid markets, where people did not understand what applications were. At the same time, he stressed that technology had to be simplified in order to create the need and to tap the rural market.
“Facebook, Pandora, weather applications, Google search and Google maps are the most popular applications,” informed Vijaykumar Radhakrishnan, Chief Technology Officer, Dot Com Infoway, citing the most downloaded applications on mobile.
Much has been said about the need for the print format to co-exist with digital. In order to simplify the magazine reading experience, DCI Mobile Studios is in the pre-launch stage of its magazine application, called Magzter. Throwing light on this application, CR Venkatesh, Managing Director & CEO, Dot Com Infoway, said, “Magzter started with the Indian and the Asian markets. Currently, we have Galatta Cinema, Media Voice, Tehelka, and Global Gujarati as our clients in India.”
However, Magzter as a policy has no exclusive contracts with anyone, thereby allowing the magazine to be on various applications. “That gives me a challenge to keep innovating. If I don’t innovate, the client will leave me and the clients like that proposition,” Venkatesh added.
He further noted that it was difficult to convince publishers in the Indian market to go on the digital platform, while those in the West embraced this as an opportunity. He was confident that with the launch of new tablets, smart phones, and spread of 3G, almost every magazine would want to go digital.
Meanwhile on the aspect of managing accounts, Probir Roy, Co-founder, Paymate, pointed out that the mobile phone was quickly replacing the plastic money concept. At the same time, he stressed on the need for banks to have a strict security policy to ensure foolproof transactions.
Dot Com Infoway’s Radhakrishnan asserted, “Applications is the next big opportunity after ringtones in the mobile space.”
The industry experts were sharing their knowledge and expertise at the Mobile Applications Conference India 2011, which was held in Mumbai on February 19. This day-long conference explored new opportunities that are emerging in the mobile applications space and sought to some light on where the mobile industry is headed and how entrepreneurs and developers can take advantage of that. source

Hello TV On BSNL Crosses 5 Lakh Subs; Percept Knorigin MD Viraj Malik On ROI

HELLOTV the mobile TV service deployed by Percept Knorigin with BSNL since February 2010, has crossed 5 lakh subscribers, including both 3G and non-3G users
Percept Knorigin MD and CEO Viraj Malik told MediaNama that running a Mobile TV business in India is tough for a VAS provider as content costs are high and service price points are low. “The ARPUs for mobile TV services are in the range of Rs 20 and the churn is high. We are open to working with operators who believe in an equitable revenue share and commit to promoting the service,” he reiterated. Percept Knorigin, which is the digital arm of media firm Percept Holdings, also plans to launch a targeted mobile TV app for the Indian diaspora in overseas markets, including an iPad app. In India, it is in talks with three major operators to roll out mobile TV services on 3G and GPRS in the next three months.
Percept has launched mobile TV through circuit switched data or video call on BSNL on the shortcode 51010, which is priced at Rs 2 per minute or Rs 299/month for unlimited use. The service will be launched on MTNL as well.
On BSNL, Hello TV services single channel packs are priced at Rs 10 per day, Rs 20 per week and Rs 30 per month. A combo pack of 30 popular channels is also available at Rs 149 a month in addition to Low Value packs of Rs 29/month for three channels and Rs 49/month for five. In addition to subscription charges, a usage charge of Rs 0.0025 per 10kb (25 paise per MB) also applies. The service is integrated with BSNL’s WAP portal BSNL Live, and does not require a separate application download: allows users to watch TV streams from their native mobile browsers.
Another player in the Mobile TV space, Apalya, which is also present on BSNL through its MiMobi TV app charges Rs 10 per day or Rs 50 per month for single channel packs, and Rs 150 per month for subscription to all channels.source

Pre-paid mobile services ban regressive

Terming the possibility of blanket ban on prepaid mobile services in Jammu and Kashmir as regressive, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday blamed the service providers for dragging their feet on verification. "It's the mobile service providers who are dragging their heels regarding verification and
the creating a problem for everyone else," Omar said on the micro-blogging site twitter.
Omar said imposing a blanket ban would be a regressive and counter-productive measure and ways have to be found to avoid it.
"I agree, a blanket ban is regressive and counter-productive. How to avoid it is to be worked out," he said.
Department of Telecommunication in a notification to mobile operations extended the permission for prepaid mobile connections in Jammu and Kashmir till March 31, 2011, giving rise to apprehensions that the service might be banned.
The notification was issued after discrepancies and shortcomings came to surface with regard to the verification of subscriber credentials in many cases.
Prepaid connections in the state were banned in 2009 as many SIM cards were recovered from the possession of militants and their sympathisers. However, the ban was lifted in January 2010 but strict guidelines for re-verification were notified to the telecom companies.

Pyro deploys Transaction Hub platform for Airtel’s OnLine Pay

Airtel Africa, a leading Telecom operator with wide network across 16 countries in Africa enables their customers to transact mobile money using their Airtel Money accounts.

Hyderabad-based Pyro, a leader in providing innovative mobile technology solutions has deployed the Transaction Hub platform for Airtel’s OnLine Pay - the world’s first mobile virtual card and winner of GSMA Award announced on Thursday at the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, Spain.  Airtel Africa, a leading Telecom operator with wide network across 16 countries in Africa enables their customers to transact mobile money using their Airtel Money accounts.

Pyro’s Transaction Hub is a robust platform that integrates to MasterCard data centre with airtel Africa and enables their customers not only to have virtual bank account, but also transfer funds and conduct various mobile commerce transactions as a part of their financial inclusion strategy. This is the world's first virtual card that operates off a wallet residing on a mobile phone. This innovative payment method known as Airtel OnLine Pay will offer communities the opportunity for greater participation in the financial system as they realize the substantial benefits of mobile commerce.

Pyro’s mCommerce solutions are backed with Pyro’s NexGen VBox Platform, which is a technological framework and the first of its kind Service Delivery System with DSC (Dynamic Service Creation) that empowers the operators to build, configure and deploy services in real time.  With the ability to rapidly design and rollout meaningful services on behalf of the operators, the platform adds a new dimension to the time-to-market capability of innovative Value Added Services.

Director of Products and Innovation of Airtel Africa, George Held speaks Our focus is on Mobile Money Market Innovation, where we are creating a “cashless society” whereby any number of needs could be met via mobile money.  Our One Network was the source of formulating the advanced strategy with regard to international person-to-person mobile money transfer. We are pleased to partner with Pyro for this unmatched mCommerce initiative in Africa. Aimed at making life simpler for our customers, Pyro mCommerce platform is one-stop shop for all financial transactions. We look forward to Pyro’s partnership and contribution in strengthening Airtel Africa’s initiative.”

S M Reddy, CEO, Pyro said, “We have in the past contributed to innovations with Celtel, Zain, and we hope to continue our efforts to provide the best in technology and solutions with airtel Africa. The winning of Airtel’s OnLine Pay in the GSMA Awards, Barcelona is an acknowledgement of our efforts and positioning in the telecom industry as an innovative provider of Value Added Services. airtel has always been a pioneer of launching cutting-edge services globally and we look forward to partner them for this unique initiative through their global operations.” source