Interview: how Ola is building an ‘Uber for India’

All over the world, ride-sharing apps are taking on powerful local taxi businesses. But in India, the situation is a little different: there are hardly any local firms to take on. So the challenge is more about establishing a market in the first place. Mumbai-based Ola Cabs is leading the charge. Anand Subramanian, director of marketing communications at Ola was interviewed by Shradha Sharma of YourStory Media during MEF Global Forum Mobile First Markets in Bangalore, and shared some of the company’s strategies and goals. In March of this year, Ola raised $400 million in Series E funding. It … [Read more...]

Why mobile first markets are leading the mobile charge

Unencumbered by legacy internet infrastructure, in many markets mobile has taken off as the primary digital touch-point. As smartphones become cheaper and connectivity improves there has been a corresponding uplift in mobile device penetration in markets across Asia, Africa and the Middle East. And it’s that widespread adoption that characterises many growth economies as mobile first. Ahead of MEF Global Forum Mobile First Markets in Bangalore next week, we take a look at why India is one of the countries at the forefront of this trend. With its entrepreneurial mentality, millions of … [Read more...]

MEF Connects Thailand in Pictures

MEF Asia recently hosted the second MEF Connects Thailand, sponsored by Telenor and supported by Mono Group & TIMWE. MEF Asia General Manager Linda Ruck shares her account of the evening. With a population of more than 68 million, Thailand has more than 100 million mobile phone subscribers and is a country mad about social media, with 30 million Facebook accounts, 33 million LINE users, and ranks as the second most instagrammed place in the world. That's rather amazing when you consider there are only 5.5 million household computers, and it was only two years ago that 3G was introduced … [Read more...]

5 mobile start-ups in Thailand’s growing ecosystem

Last week in Bangkok MEF hosted MEF Connects Thailand, sponsored by Telenor and supported by Mono Group & TIMWE. Amongst the packed agenda the evening showcased some of the brightest  start-ups that are participating in Thailand’s Dtac Accelerate programme. Here, Andrew Kvalseth, Head of Strategy and Innovation for Dtac introduces us to the startups and explains why such innovation is so important to the growing Thai mobile ecosystem. A vibrant start-up ecosystem is fundamental to building Thailand’s proposed Digital Economy. Innovation will be the driving force behind Thailand’s … [Read more...]

Thailand’s insatiable data hunger – and how to keep it growing

With MEF Connects Thailand just two weeks away, our keynote speaker for the evening, Telenor’s EVP and Head of Asia, Sigve Brekke, shares insights on Thailand's unbridled enthusiasm for connectivity and the internet, and how mobile technology has the potential to prove a truly transformative force for good in the rapidly growing economy. Among our six Asian markets, Thailand has the largest appetite for data, digital communication and internet. It’s this hunger that makes Thailand unique. It’s this hunger that we see as driving Thailand’s bourgeoning mobile technology ecosystem. It’s this … [Read more...]

How Telenor and Facebook partnered to drive internet adoption in Pakistan

Mobile operator and MEF Member, Telenor, has released the results of a free Facebook campaign in Pakistan, aimed at bringing first-time Internet users online. Facebook was provided with a zero-rated data plan to all Telenor subscribers. The result was a spike in internet uptake, with a significant chunk of new users going on to use paid data services on the network. Below, MEFTV speaks to VP Head of Global Partnerships, Karianne Melleby at MWC about the study and the opportunities and challenges of this and other global exciting markets. Expansion of Internet usage in Pakistan 2014 … [Read more...]

MEF Connects Indonesia in pictures

Last month MEF Asia hosted the first ever MEF Connects Indonesia in Jakarta in association with Indosat. The event was co-located on the first evening of  Mobile Money & Digital Payments Asia and supported by Bango and Daily Social. MEF Asia GM Linda Ruck shares the highlights and photos from the night. The evening started with the keynote presentation by Randy Pangalila, Group Head, Mobile Financial Services at Indosat and was followed by a fast paced panel moderated by Rama Mamuaya from Daily Social discussing  “Doing business in the world’s fourth largest mobile market”. The panel … [Read more...]

MEF Connects Singapore – Event Roundup

MEF Asia recently hosted the ever-popular MEF Connects Singapore held during CommunicAsia where MEF members and business leaders from across the world met to share knowledge and do business. Here, General Manager for MEF Asia, Linda Ruck, shares the background to one of the most exciting mobile markets in the world, and her takeaways from the member event. With a population of almost 5.4 million, Singapore is a busy and exciting market with a this tech-savvy nation that enjoys a staggering mobile penetration rate of more than 148 percent and 8 million active mobile subscribers - split between … [Read more...]

Understanding the Malaysian Mobile Industry

The Malaysian mobile industry has grown rapidly in recent years with the advent of mobile technology and high broadband penetration that sees several major corporations involved in mobile networks and services. With a population of 30 million, mobile penetration in Malaysia has long surpassed the 100% mark and the Malaysian mobile market is poised for greater growth, with much potential yet to be explored. Here Ms. Ng Wan Peng, COO of the Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) discusses this exciting mobile market. A competitive market for mobile network operators Malaysia currently … [Read more...]

Spotlight On Mobile in Asia – Colin Miles

With less than three weeks to go until  MEF Global Forum co-located with the 10th annual Meffys Awards on 14th and 15th November in San Francisco, this week Colin Miles, MEF Asia Chair and VP of Corporate relations at InternetQ Plc, shares his thoughts on the state of the Asian mobile markets and a describes a quiet revolution - the ‘alternate’ mobile consumer movement - going seemingly unnoticed in the West. The (Instant) Message is now the Medium It is such a tumultuous time in Mobile that any blog trying to pinpoint a patterned perspective is likely to be blown apart within a few … [Read more...]

Ten Things you need to know about the Thai Mobile Market

Known for its creative Advertising approach, exceptional hospitality, amazing natural wonders and exotic (spicy) food; Thailand has also become a sizzling hot tech startup hub in Asia. A wide range of industry events such as Mobile Monday and WebMob take place regularly, and an expanding presence of Venture Capital funds, including each of the mobile operators having their own accelerators, are all driving forces behind this impressive growth, pushing for technological innovation and grabbing the attention of geeks worldwide. Ronen Mense VP of Sales & Business Development for APAC at … [Read more...]

MEF Asia develops successful strategic collaboration with Asian Carrier Conference

Linda Ruck

MEF Asia recently hosted its first set of events in the Philippines in collaboration with the Asian Carriers’ Conference (ACC), an event which draws Telcos and delegates from around the globe to sunny Cebu. With organisers, Philippine Long Distance Company, keen to develop the breadth of content for their event, this was the first collaboration of its kind with an industry association. The programme provided MEF members with some great benefits including delegate discounts, speaking opportunities and provided a backdrop for some fantastic networking in a fast paced growth market. MEF Asia … [Read more...]

10 things you need to know about the Bangladesh mobile market

In a country where 50% of the population does not have electricity, mobile brings a silent revolution to Bangladesh. Kaymun Amin is CEO and Founder of VuMobile and here explores the massive potential of the Bangladeshi mobile market. Bangladesh is home to 160 million people with over 70% of the population living in rural areas on $2 per day or less.  The country is the ninth-largest market worldwide in terms of mobile subscribers in Q1 2013 with 70 million 'unique' subscribers (i.e. people) actively using 112 million mobile connections (i.e. SIM cards) (source: GSMA). Market penetration based … [Read more...]

10 things you need to know about mobile marketing

eMarketer estimates that mobile ad-spend will increase to almost $37 billion in 2016 on smartphones and tablets, up from $8.4 billion in 2012, (display and search). Here, Phalgun Raju, VP & GM for India, Southeast Asia, Hong Kong & Taiwan at InMobi provides 10 things that you need to know about mobile marketing. 1. Smartphone shipments will pass 1 billion by 2014 According to IDC smartphone shipments are expected to pass 1 billion for the first time in 2014. The smartphone and tablet brigade will out-ship PCs in 2013 by 3:1 and the ratio will grow to 5:1 by 2017. This rapid adoption … [Read more...]

MEF in the Philippines: Mixing the Asian Carriers Conference

Linda Ruck

With the announcement that MEF is to hold an inaugural welcome Mixer in the Philippines during the Asian Carriers Conference next month, MEF Asia General Manager Linda Ruck takes a look at the unique market and discusses what makes it relevant to MEF and its members.Dynamic and fast paced, the Philippines mobile market has more than 100 million subscribers and a mobile penetration rate over 100%, with the mobile segment remaining central to the wider development of the country’s telecom sector.  At its peak more than two billion SMS messages were being sent every day, generating the largest … [Read more...]

10 things you need to know about the Indian mobile market

The massive and fast growing mobile market in India has attracted many major companies, investors and entrepreneurs, but the promised riches do not come without huge risk. India has over 900M mobile subscribers and still growing, second only to China. However, there are significant challenges that need to be taken into consideration when entering the market. Here Paul Palmer, VP of Global Sales at Bubbly, formerly Bubble Motion, breaks down 10 key points you need to know before jumping in at the deep end. 1) While there are 900M+ subs, mobile operators are highly fragmented There are six … [Read more...]

5 minutes with…MassiveImpact

In our 5 minutes with profiles, MEF members talk about their business, their aspirations for the future and the wider mobile industry. This week, CEO Sephi Shapira  introduces mobile advertising platform MassiveImpact. What does MassiveImpact do? We guarantee advertisers will profitably promote their products on mobile devices. This means two things; first we only work with advertisers that want to sell their products on mobile devices, we don’t work with advertisers that just want their ad to be seen or clicked on. Second, we only get paid when an actual product or service is sold, we don’t … [Read more...]

MEF Asia members brave the record Haze in Singapore at CommunicAsia 2013

Despite the highest levels of air pollution on record last week MEF Asia members enjoyed the annual gathering at CommunicAsia 2013, the region’s largest integrated info communication technology event, The Chapter hosted an exclusive MEF Mixer as part of a line-up of MEF’s CommunicAsia 2013 activities. Now an annual favorite, the evening was supported by Kimia and Smaato and held at Orgo Bar & Restaurant, atop the iconic Esplanade – Theatres by the Bay – Singapore’s performing Arts Center. Reflecting the Chapter’s diversity, the evening attracted participants from 12 countries … [Read more...]

MEF in India: Connecting with a Country of Contrasts

Colin Miles, MEF Asia Chair and VP of Corporate Marketing at InternetQ reflects on the first MEF Connects India event, recently held in Mumbai - @ColinMiles When such an astonishing country of contrasts as India represents, hits the headlines for all the wrong reasons, it's good to report something positive that points to a better future for everyone.That thing of course, is Mobile – and in recognition of its impact plus its overall importance in the country, MEF marshalled a host of industry leaders and top national players to a gathering with a touch of élan that only MEF can symbiotically … [Read more...]

MEF Asia announces new board showcasing mobile diversity, India dominates

MEF has announced the results of the hotly contested MEF Asia Board elections held during Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Seven new board members appointed for a two year term will join the incumbent board directors from Hungama, inMobi, InternetQ, Mono Technology and Netbiscuits, and together will pioneer new forms of market collaboration and advancement. The newly appointed members are: Chaitanya Devalapally, Associate Vice President, Operations, IMImobile Dippak Khurana, Founder & CEO, Ronen Mense, VP, Sales & Business Development APAC, MassiveImpact Nitish … [Read more...]