Trends from Mobile World Congress

The just-concluded annual event of the GSM mobile industry in Barcelona threw up a number of interesting trends, some of which could be particularly useful for Indian operators and companies creating content and solutions in the mobile space.

Dominance of Voice and SMS: The mobile can do many things, but for a mobile operator it is voice and SMS which generates, in most countries, 90-95% of the revenue. This is likely to go down as new services emerge, but for now, the mobile is used for, as someone put it, “calling, texting, and as an alarm clock.”

Operators as Customer Relationship Managers: Mobile operators are in a unique position given the data they have on consumers. They can graph our social networks, identify our likes and dislikes based on what we do on the mobile, and also integrate this with the information they collect on us when we register. All of this puts operators in an excellent position to manage – and monetise – the customer relationship they have. But for this, they will need to look beyond the pipes business – never an easy transition to make. This market transition will create opportunities and challenges for not just mobile operators, but also the entire ecosystem.

Mobile as Internet Machine: That is how Masayoshi Son of Softbank thinks of the mobile. As mobiles become more powerful and networks become faster, it opens up the vast world of the Internet – on the go. The same sentiment was echoed by Vodafone’s Arun Sarin. But this will mean investing not just in 3G networks but going to 3.5G and beyond. India needs to think hard creating the regulatory environment to facilitate the creation of the next-generation wireless infrastructure and service.

Hot Topics: On the mobile services side, perhaps the two areas that elicited the maximum interest and discussion were mobile advertising and mobile payments. Just as the advertising model has had a deep impact on the Internet, there is a growing belief that the mobile is becoming a medium and advertising will create value for customers, operators and businesses. The models are still emerging. On the payments side, there is great interest on enabling money transfers, facilitating banking and driving transactions. There was also recognition for “mChek on Airtel” which won the award for the Best Customer Care and Billing Solution.

Importance of Communities: As John Chambers of Cisco put it, the market is shifting from “You to Us.” People want to connect to other people, new sources of information and with the communities they are already part of. The mobile is becoming an integral part of this connected life, with the desire to share photos, videos – and moments. As tomorrow’s world is shaped by convergence, the mobile will be the real-time window to our family and friends.

Importance of Emerging Markets: The fulcrum of innovation is also starting to shift from the developed markets to emerging countries like India. One of the keynote speakers pointed out that while big companies are good at evolutionary innovations, it is the smaller companies which drive revolutionary innovation. Indian companies and entrepreneurs have the opportunity to create the next big models in the mobile space – leveraging a large domestic market to expand internationally.

Netcore scores in GSMA’s Mobile Innovation Global Awards

Let me start with some great news. Netcore has won the Runner-Up position in the GSMA Mobile Innovation Global Awards. I will be in Barcelona next week (along with Netcore CEO, Abhijit Saxena) to make the presentation. Will have more details about MyToday soon.


Netcore Solutions declared as Runner Up in ‘True Mobile Start-Up’ category at GSMA Mobile Innovation Global Awards ’08

While the telecom world is abuzz with the upcoming GSMA Mobile World Congress, India’s Netcore Solutions has already quietly scored at the GSMA 2008 Mobile Innovation Global Awards, sponsored by Ericsson with Netcore’s path breaking MyToday service. Netcore was selected, last week as Runner-up in the ’True Mobile Startup’ category.

Netcore Solutions was selected from hundreds of entries as a Top Innovator in the first round. GSMA then selected 10 finalists over 5 categories who will compete in front of a judging panel at the Mobile Innovation Marketplace that is due to be held in Barcelona between February 11-12 2008.

Netcore Solutions has acquired a place in the runners-up list of 15 nominees over 5 categories. Netcore is the first Indian company to be recognized at the GSMA Mobile Innovation Global Awards. Netcore’s MD Rajesh Jain will present MyToday to a global audience in Barcelona on 12th February 2008.

The GSMA Mobile World Congress ’08 convenes in February this year at Barcelona. Founded in 1987, GSMA is a global trade association representing over 700 GSM mobile phone operators. GSMA Mobile World Congress which convenes every February is the world’s largest and the most prestigious mobile industry event.

The Mobile Innovation Global Awards were launched by GSMA in year 2006 to recognize excellence and showcase innovation in the global mobile industry by presenting emerging companies on a global stage.

The Mobile Innovation Global Awards 2008, sponsored by Ericsson, are judged in multiple stages with participations from across the world. The 2008 shortlist has been chosen by a panel of expert judges. The judging process evaluates the innovators on crucial factors that can make, or break, the success of a truly innovative idea.

Service Supreme

Netcore’s MyToday is a bold and visionary effort to reach out to all of the 250 million or more Indians who possess a cell phone with innovative data services on SMS and GPRS, – with ‘something for everyone’. Through MyToday Dailies, Netcore offers unique content services on SMS. A comprehensive mobile portal, offers relevant content to Indian mobile users on the go. While through the community group and chat services – called MyToday MOBS and Mytoday Chat, it reaches out to the fast growing mobile youth segment of Indian market. Netcore has been able to establish mobile as a medium that caters to need of consumers and also offers path-breaking modes of mobile advertising and marketing.

MyToday Dailies is the largest non-telco, direct-to-consumer Mobile Service, with over 2.5 million subscribers spread across the country. With 25 successful channels that have succeeded without mass media campaigns, MYTODAY DAILIES has grown virally through pure word-of-mouth.

Abhijit Saxena, CEO Netcore says, “Mobiles are emerging as one of the strongest and largest medium in India to directly address the fast growing market of over 225 million mobile users. With strong technology platform, we are able to reach to every Indian mobile user who is hungry for information but has no access to internet on the go. We have the capability and the proof of concept to showcase the strength of the fourth screen that every Indian views, which is mobile.”

The Second Life of SMS

MYTODAY DAILIES is a free, direct-to-consumer, opt-in SMS subscription service that is making SMS into a habit with its timed delivery. Since most users subscribe to multiple channels, the cumulative reach of MYTODAY DAILIES is 8 million every day.

“At Netcore, we pro-actively put the user in control, to eliminate any chance of spam and unsolicited communication which is highly detrimental to the brand and the medium. In the DNC environment, where the consumer, advertising fraternity and regulatory systems are grappling to fight the monster of tele-marketing and SMS spam, here is a company that has designed its services to the subscribers’ conveniences, needs and driven purely by his choice.” – quipped Abhijit Saxena.

What is more important is that besides being a strong feasible concept, it is their unique channels that give them the edge no media has in India today. They are as strong in the semi and sub urban zones of India as they are in the Metros and Tier 1 cities

About Netcore

Netcore has been founded by Rajesh Jain, who had earlier created IndiaWorld, India’s first and largest family of internet portals, which was acquired by Sify in 1999.

His new venture, Netcore, has been getting recognition in the global mobile fraternity for its innovation in giving SMS a second life and pioneering new business models in mobile advertising and marketing.

Rajesh Jain, Founder and MD said, “Mobiles are the true convergence device of the future, and they will be the ultimate marketing platform of tomorrow. In Consumer Marketing, you can’t get more direct.” Known for the success of his futuristic vision and ventures, he added, “Recognition from the 2008 GSMA Mobile Innovation Global Awards is a timely endorsement of our vision for the future in new-world media and markets.”

Netcore’s Mobility division has been creating benchmark mobile products and services. Created under the umbrella brand of MyToday –, MyToday Dailies and MyToday MOBS provide an array of services to millions of users across the length and breadth of the country. Their huge success is an acknowledgement of Rajesh Jain’s vision to bring about an information and communication revolution using the mobile as a medium.

CEO Speak

Abhijit Saxena says, ““All we had to do was to find a method to marry the largest proliferated device with a service which is sincere to the user’s sensibilities, needs and conveniences. When we put it all together, we knew we already had a winner with long-term potential.”

“The medium and the market are very large and lucrative, and being hurt by ad-hoc tele-marketing and SMS spam. We decided to conserve and cultivate this market by example.”

He added, “We respect the DNC environment, because true consumer-based marketing deserves weaving our services into their lifestyle while adding intrinsic value. And we hope we start a trend that will encourage companies to market strategically, not forcefully.”