MWC2013 round-up: day 2

Dario Talmesio/Informa Telecoms and Media
27 Feb 2013

Embrace the enemy: it’s not an option, it’s your destiny
Virtually everybody in the telecom world is scratching their heads and trying to find out how to grow, how to change, how to innovate. This year more than ever at Mobile World Congress, it is becoming obvious that operators, vendors, service providers, device manufacturers and all the other players are looking at coopetition and cooperation.

OTT meet telco meet OTT
During the second day of MWC, Talmon Marco from Viber Media, an OTT player leader in VoIP and messaging services, announced a partnership with the Indonesian operator Axis. Viber, which only launched about two years ago, now has 175 million users and is looking at ways to monetize its customer base.

At the same time – and on the same keynote panel on the future of communication – René Obermann, CEO of Deutsche Telekom AG agreed that operators should be looking at more ways to cooperate with their partners– including the OTT competitors – in order to generate business models that create revenues streams for both. We believe that some time will pass before business models settle but at least the operators and OTT players are now sitting at the same table and discussing their common future. However, some black eyes will be seen before the wedding is consummated.

BlackBerry follows Samsung with a mobile payment debut
BlackBerry’s instant-messaging service, BBM, will have person-to-person payments added to its capabilities in a pilot that the handset maker is launching in Indonesia in collaboration with PT Bank Permata and Monitise, the mobile-money-platform provider. This announcement is the second at this year’s MWC of a major handset maker debuting in the mobile payment space. Yesterday, Samsung unveiled a deal with global payments network Visa to launch contactless payment services around the Samsung-controlled secure elements embedded in its devices.

With BBM Money, users will be able to create and access a mobile-money account from their BlackBerry devices and make real-time payments to other people who are also signed up to the service. They will also be able to use the account to buy airtime credit and transfer money to bank accounts.

Like Samsung, BlackBerry has been embedding secure elements into its NFC-enabled devices, so it’s probably just a matter of time before BBM Money is also extended to contactless payments in bricks-and-mortar stores. Just like last year, mobile payment is shaping up to be one of the main themes of the show.

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