Saturday, February 13, 2010

Mobile Web Means More Revenues for Telcos

Mobile WebThe local telecommunications industry is moving towards new revenue streams beyond SMS, with more Filipinos starting to use their handsets for more than just text messaging and voice calls. Even advertising is moving towards the mobile space, according to industry executives. The Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) revealed there were 385 million monthly ad impressions from users of Internet-capable phones. But as of now, revenues per subscriber in the Philippines is only round $3, which is still small even with the increase in overall subscriber base and usage of Internet services on handsets. There is also a lingering debate whether telecommunications services should be taxed or imposed with additional fees. While lawmakers contend that it is just fair, telecom firms argue that such orders could mean higher pass-on rates to users. Boudewijn Pesch, Asia Pacific managing director for mobile applications developer Acision, said that while taxation or new regulations imposing fees could stifle revenues, introducing new services and applications could augment dwindling revenues. Pesch stressed that Internet usage behavior has only a few differences with browsing on an ordinary PC. Some users access about five to 10 types of applications online from a PC but people would still use these while being mobile, if given the opportunity. As prices of Internet-enabled handsets and wireless Internet access go down, Pesch forecasted there will be an increase in mobile Internet access in the next 18 months to three years. Telcos have to add more value with services that people would actually need to use. It is already a fact that people will spend on a premium service as long as it delivers what is intended and if it actually helps in the productivity of the user. Pesche said applications for messaging will still be present for a long while, especially with the need to integrate messaging between desktop and mobile phones. Services such as Globe Telecom's new Duo service are among the services that are unique and targeted to different yet large segment of mobile subscribers. Configuring mobile services to cater to specific users is important in all telecommunications firms' plans to increase revenues.