Indon mobile success tied to social networking

Michael Carroll
25 Feb 2011

Some food for thought from research firm Nielsen, which revealed mobile phone penetration in Indonesia has tripled in the past five years, as consumers skip straight to wireless communications.

Mobile penetration has grown from 20% in 2005 to 54% currently, as a growing number of subscribers shun landlines.

A rise in the number of younger consumers is fuelling the increase in penetration. The firm states 70% of the country’s teenagers have a mobile and that penetration in the 10-14 years group has grown five times in as many years.

While Nielsen points out that lower tariffs have also played a part in the growth, it notes that those tight rates make Indonesia a tough market for mobile operators.

Indeed, SingTel recently reported losses for 4Q10 due to underperforming regional businesses, with pre-tax profit from Indonesian carrier Telkomsel down 10% year-on-year.

But rewind the clock to September, when ComScore released research into social networking that perhaps points a way for carriers to go.

It found that 95% of Indonesian web users accessed social networking sites during June 2010, ranking the country third behind the Philippines and Malaysia in terms of access.

However, Indonesia is bested only by the Philippines in terms of hours spent on the sites – racking up almost six hours compared to roughly six-and-a-half for Filipino users in June.

Using some very basic math, it’s not hard to add high mobile penetration to high usage of social networking and come up with four.

If you still need convincing, consider this. ComScore didn’t include any mobile users or public computers in its research, meaning the potential of wireless social networks in Indonesia is likely much higher than its figures suggest.

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