Making money from prepaid data

Joseph Waring & John C. Tanner
11 Oct 2012

Smartphone penetration in developing markets in APAC is estimated at just 5%. But that's projected to increase by more than four-fold between 2011 and 2016, according to Strategy Analytics. There are already smartphones available for under $100, and in some cases under $50.

Meanwhile, the smartphones that have already reached Asia's developing markets represent a huge market opportunity for mobile data services as affordable smartphones become available to people whose first internet experience has been - or will be - with mobile devices.

However, operators in developing markets can't simply look to their developed-market counterparts for business models targeting smartphone users - at least not beyond the small percentage of wealthy urban users. It's not a question of what "G" the network supports so much as the fundamental differences between the market segments themselves, says Warren Chaisatien, strategic marketing manager at Ericsson.

Ajay Sunder, Frost & Sullivan's senior director for telecom, Asia Pacific, says operators are developing innovative bundles of voice, SMS and data to target the growing population of smartphone users. He says there is a huge potential for prepaid data services, and operators are just starting to tap this segment.

"The growing number of prepaid data and bundled plans and their popularity are a testimony of this opportunity."

A recent study from Ericsson's ConsumerLab covering Southeast Asia reports latent demand for mobile data services that not only conform to the prepaid experience - top-ups, passes (either time-based or session-based), boosters (i.e. paying a bit extra for a better game or video experience) and cross-service bundles - but also are application and/or content-specific whenever possible (i.e. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc), allowing users to buy the exact services they want.

Related content

No Comments Yet! Be the first to share what you think!
This website uses cookies
This provides customers with a personalized experience and increases the efficiency of visiting the site, allowing us to provide the most efficient service. By using the website and accepting the terms of the policy, you consent to the use of cookies in accordance with the terms of this policy.