Saturday, July 26, 2008

MECOM 2008

MECOM 2008 – 2nd edition of the Middle East Communications exhibition and conference held during 26-28 May at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre
Abu Dhabi is trying hard to establish this as a meeting point for operators and vendors interested in the MENA region. As usual there was an exhibition and a number of conference streams. They covered several topics ranging from "hard issues" Transport Network, WiMAX, Billing&Fraud, and Managed Services to "softer ones" like Mobile Internet, Mobile Broadband, and Web 2.0.

One of the most interesting developments (from our side) was the launch of Gitmo, a venture between Bertelsmann and the Abu DHabi Media Company (ADMC). Gitmo offers a subscription model for music download that is targeted more towards companies interested in using music as a promotional tool. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

mmChannel activities were centered in the Web2.0 conference track, where we addressed the issue of monetizing the opportunity. Given the topic it was lucky that ours was the last conference as a number of speakers (especially Maktoob's General Manager Mr Ahmed Nassef had warmed up the audience).

The meeting proved fruitful and we are following a number of leads generated during our two days in Abu Dhabi.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Something new under the (mobile) sun

My friend Cristobal passed me a quite interesting document after his visit to an MVNO conference.
It describes how a new mobile virtual operator (MVNO) is targeting the South Asian community in the UK. Desimobi they are following an approach quite close to what I would like to implement here in the Gulf.

I first proposed something similar to this in 2004, targeting Moroccan immigrants in Spain. Then in 2005, I was working for OVUM at the time, to the CEO of a Turkish operator. I tried to convince him to launch an MVNO in Germany to reduce churn in Turkey and increase revenue from international traffic. Unfortunately I failed to convince my clients at the time and I missed a great opportunity to do something really interesting and fun. Since then a number of operators targeting migrant populations have been launched in Europe.

By targeting specific groups in their own language, and with a value proposition that is carefully tuned to their interests and concerns Desimobi are trying to break away from the increasing pressure on revenue per minute. I think this is one of the few open routes in the mobile industry to reverse or at least stop the commoditization process.

I will be following Desimobi closely. This promises to be quite an interesting story.