Multiple blows for mobile operators

Whether it is instant messaging or Over The Top (OTT) voice, mobile operators will feel the effects of outlaying vast capital sums for supreme network coverage and data speeds with very little revenue in return, instead providing a platform for service providers to rapidly capture significant revenue.

Forecasts from the global analyst firm reveal that OTT VoIP will cost the global telecoms industry $479bn in lost cumulative revenues by 2020, which represents 6.9% of cumulative total voice revenues. So whilst over-the-top (OTT) VoIP services are not about to replace traditional telephony, they will have a marked impact on telcos’ revenues over the next eight years. Fortunately for the operators in South Africa the quality and ubiquity of reliable 3G services has prevented widespread adoption of these services and will continue so until the network data throughput supports this service.

The upsurge in instant cheap – or free – instant messaging is also becoming a problem for mobile operators who are expected to lose $54 billion in SMS revenue in the next four years, also according to Global research company Ovum.

Ovum’s emerging markets analyst, Richard Hurst, says “in all fairness”, local operators have seen this SMS threat coming for a long time. He points to Mxit – a concept conceived as far back as 2003, as a platform that has evolved into a major IM player in SA. Mxit currently has 40m subscribers and still no movement from the operators on pricing.The operators are dependent on cross-platform failure and the public’s fear of internet security which drives banking and other notification services to use traditional SMS services and in the main will continue to preserve some revenue.

SO how will operators react. Ovum recommends that operators develop or deploy applications that link cloud services with telephony usage. They need to provide content, relationships, and history within a service, irrespective of device or access method. Very importantly, Ovum also sees the continued existence of the telephone number as a key asset for telcos as it is central to their relationships with their customers.

“The major threat posed by OTT VoIP is that it weakens customers’ attachment to their telephone number and transfers their attachment to a new address. This may turn out to be a more significant factor than the direct impact on telephony revenues,” explains Green. “Operators should use telephone numbers as the identifier and address for cloud-based services, allow customers to choose numbers that are relevant to them, and develop more application-to-person SMS applications.”

execMobile offers global first data roaming solution

Source: African Business Review

26 May 2013 Sheree Hanna

A leading South African supplier of cost-effective solutions for using mobile phone and internet abroad offers post-paid roaming services which can knock 98 percent off bills for business travellers.

execMobile now offers mobile executives convenient, cost effective mobile data roaming as a post-paid service, reducing the cost of data connectivity by as much as 98 percent when travelling outside South Africa.

Total cost control is delivered over a real time global mobile platform to completely eliminate data roaming “bill shock”.

Craig Lowe, execMobile founder, said the solutions are targeted at executives who have to travel overseas regularly and need solutions which are both convenient and reduce the average international data cost of around R100 per MB.

execMobile offers corporates the options of “arrive connected” convenience in 74 countries or a data bundle service which offers greater coverage in 128 countries at even better rates. All services are billed at month end with no fixed monthly costs.

Lowe said: “The international data market is a $45 billion dollar industry and 67 percent of the market is made up by corporate employees who travel overseas and need to be connected from wherever they are.

“Around 5.2 million people travel out of South Africa every year, of which 505 000 are business travelers, where time and convenience are extremely important.”

The international per MB price of data is so high because the foreign mobile network determines around 80 percent of the cost for users wanting to roam onto their network.

Lowe said the reason execMobile is able to offer such a markedly lower price is due to the various partners they are working with who have negotiated near local rates in various countries. execMobile has built a management platform to control roaming subscribers and offer them cost reduction, control and above all convenience.

“Local data costs will always be cheaper, but that requires buying a SIM card in that country or using WiFi where available. The SIM might require a RICA-equivalent process and will require the user to forfeit their mobile number and modify their device settings,” Lowe said.

“For leisure travellers this is generally not a problem as they have the time to do this. However, for an executive who has time constraints, needs secure Internet access on multiple devices (laptop, smartphone, tablet) and may travel to multiple countries (multiple SIMs required), this becomes problematic.”

execMobile’s PocketWifi offers their Global or Giga SIM which is placed into a wireless router to allow up to five devices to be connected to it at one time, eliminating these obstacles and offering convenience and savings.

Lowe said this is particularly important for BlackBerry users as BIS and BES services may not be available with the foreign SIM. However, by connecting the BlackBerry wirelessly to the PocketWifi, all BlackBerry services will continue to work, which is important given that 80 percent of South African corporates run BlackBerry services.

The wireless router is also an important security feature for corporate as their employees don’t have to use Wi-Fi networks in public places and the user has to use a secure password to access the router.

execMobile’s solutions have no monthly contract fees and users are simply billed for any data or data bundles consumed in the period. “Users are only sent a bill for the month in which they use the data card, making it the easiest way to stay connected when travelling overseas,” he added.