SMS VOLUMES CONTINUE TO GROW WITHIN BUSINESS AND SOCIAL SECTORS
It's that time of the year again when we start reflecting on the past 12 months or so. And 2008 certainly saw some big changes globally and locally, although their implications for the local mobile industry are still to be seen.
We are in the midst of a global economic recession and human interventions are accelerating climate change. Yet, with the election of Barack Obama as president-elect of the USA, people are expressing uncertainty about the economy and the climate, mixed with optimism about a new role for America on the global stage, and especially for Africa, leading into 2009.
These sentiments are also echoed about the local landscape. We have seen shifts in political power with President Kgalema Motlanthe taking office ahead of our next general election. There are concerns about how South Africa will weather global market trends, signs that consumers are tightening their belts financially, and heated calls for South Africa to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and its greenhouse gas emissions.
In the midst of this, the local mobile industry has taken some strides forward. The industry is well regulated, there is more consumer awareness about how to deal with mobile spam and mobile scams, mobile marketing has received a boost, and SMS volumes continue to grow within the business and social sectors.
A better regulated industry
Latest additions: There are many new wireless application service providers and affiliate market makers that have entered the mobile market in the past year. There are many new wireless application service providers and affiliate market makers that have entered the mobile market in the past year. The current Wireless Application Service Provider Association (WASPA) membership list includes 148 companies that are active in the local mobile market.
These businesses are governed by WASPA's mobile industry advertising rules and code of conduct. These regulations protect consumers from mobile spam, ensure strict adherence to transparent promotional and pricing information for subscription services, and monitor mobile advertising for objectionable material unsuitable for children.
These regulations enable consumers to lodge complaints with WASPA about mobile services, which have gone far in addressing increasing consumer intolerance for mobile scams and mobile spam.
The local mobile marketing industry has received a boost in the setting up of the South Africa Council of the Mobile Marketing Association (MMA) in November of this year.
With global linkages in place, this local council of the MMA is championing the use of mobile for advertising and marketing campaigns – whether the channel is SMS, MMS, WAP or a combination of these and other digital and offline media. To date, 17 companies within the mobile, broadcasting, digital, marketing and media sectors have become members of the MMA.
There is a general optimism about the continued growth of SMS messaging in SA. We have seen a continued increase in the use of SMS for business communications.
And thinking about mobile in 2009 and beyond...
Whether we say “ho, ho, ho” or “oh, oh, oh” as 2008 turns to 2009, I do feel there are some interesting local trends that we should look out for in the year ahead:
With mobile devices becoming more powerful computing tools that are always connected, searching for information via mobile Internet will increase.
M-payments will become more and more commonplace, especially in providing lower LSM consumers and the unbanked with a less-costly and more-efficient ways of making micro-payments or transferring money.
If the global recession hits harder than expected, consumers may spend less than anticipated on mobile content services.
Local politicians will take Obama's lead in adopting new mobile technologies in their campaigning in the next general elections to build up support and appeal for funding.
Increased consumer demand for greener solutions, including using solar power to reduce the need to plug a charger for a cellphone into the electrical grid, as well as increased re-use and recycling of cellphones to minimise e-waste.
Exctract taken from IT WEB the technology news site