Operators must nurture fledgling smartphone users in emerging markets to ensure mobile internet services are a success, Ovum analysts believe.
Emerging markets are tipped to be primed for a data boom, but a lack of fixed infrastructure makes mobile networks the most likely bet for providing access. Ovum analysts say operators must carefully guide subscribers from current SMS and voice services to mobile web browsing on smart devices to help the boom happen.
“Operators and content providers now have an important role to play in helping the next billion transition from basic voice and SMS functionality, to their initial steps with mobile browsers, and ultimately to smart experiences on the mobile internet,” Shiv Putcha, principal analyst for consumer telecoms, says.
Rising smartphone penetration in emerging markets will also push consumers towards mobile internet, Putcha says, noting smartphones are “giving some consumers access to the Internet for the first time.”
The key to operators’ success lies in offering pre-pay subscribers simple data tariffs. “The next billion consumers are typically highly value conscious; tariff complexity combined with potential bill shock will deter prospective mobile Internet users,” Putcha notes.
For content providers, offering localized services is the path to success, along with operator billing partnerships.