Mobile operators are communicating to their OEMs that support for RCSe/Joyn is now a key criterion for their devices to be included in the operators’ portfolios, though it is not yet mandatory. Telefonica has said that if a device does not support RCS/Joyn, it will not be dropped from their handset portfolio. But Vodafone is taking a tougher stance, saying that devices that do not support RCS/Joyn will find it tough to get into the operator’s handset portfolio.
Almost twelve months after Vodafone Spain became the first mobile operator to officially launch Joyn, South Korea’s SK Telecom has announced a fairly impressive one million users for its Joyn.T service, just 50 days after it was launched in December 2012.
WhatsApp’s partnership with 3 Hong Kong for the provision of a WhatsApp-branded mobile data plan and roaming package is potentially another rung up the ladder that Facebook and Twitter have already climbed, but the company will face a number of challenges as it seeks to consolidate its market-leading position in OTT messaging, not least of which are operator concerns about the impact that their subscribers’ WhatsApp usage has had on their messaging revenues.
2012 will be the do-or-die year for RCSe services and, quite possibly, for mobile operators’ chances to ensure that they secure their role in providing IP-based communications services to their subscribers.
Social network Facebook has finally filed an S-1 registration document for its initial public offering (IPO) with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In the S-1, Facebook states that it aims to raise $5bn when it lists on either the Nasdaq or the NYSE in May, which some estimates suggest could value the company at around $100bn. That’s not the only big number that Facebook reveals in the S-1.
Facebook has taken the wraps off Facebook Messenger, a separate mobile messaging application which has been developed by the same team that developed the Beluga group messaging application (Facebook acquired Beluga in Mar. 2011). Facebook Messenger will compete with BlackBerry Messenger and Apple’s forthcoming iMessage, in that it will provide a messaging-over-IP (MoIP) capability. However, Facebook Messenger will have the edge over both RIM and Apple in that it can provide a cross-platform messaging application, specifically for the iPhone and Android mobile operating systems, and so it will therefore also compete against applications such as WhatsApp and KakaoTalk. Facebook has stated that it is also developing Facebook Messenger for the BlackBerry.
Orange’s decision to partner with Google to provide Google’s Gmail SMS Chat to the subscribers of its operating companies in the Middle East and Africa is an acknowledgement by both parties that those who live in emerging markets are just as interested in accessing Internet services as those who live in developed markets. By enabling Gmail Chat via SMS, Orange and Google are also acknowledging that SMS is a key delivery channel for internet services in emerging markets, where there is low penetration of internet-enabled PCs and of internet-enabled mobile devices.
KPN says IP-based messaging cannibalised SMS traffic in Q1 but consumer KPIs show overall SMS growth
KPN has stated in its 1Q11 results that accelerated changing customer behaviour became visible in the cellco’s home market, the Netherlands, during the quarter. Specifically, KPN saw its SMS revenues fall ‘dramatically’ in 1Q11, according to CEO Eelco Blok, who told Reuters that SMS traffic declined 10% year-on-year in March 2011.
In Telenor Norway’s recent announcement about the changes to the way in which it offers mobile phone plans, the mobile operator referred to internal research it recently conducted, where it canvassed 3,000 mobile users about their mobile communications requirements. The research was carried out in order to tailor the two new bundled price plans that Telenor Norway will introduce on Apr. 11, 2011. One of the findings of the research was that, for the first time in Norwegian history, according to Telenor, mobile users are saying that surfing the Internet using a mobile phone is more important to them than sending SMSs.
Synchronica’s acquisition of NeuStar’s Next Generation Messaging (NGM) assets for the very low sum of US$251,000 is the culmination of a long fall from grace for the mobile-instant-messaging platform provider formerly known as Followap, which was acquired by NeuStar in Nov. 2006 for US$139 million.
The earthquake that hit Haiti on Jan. 12 is a tragedy of devastating proportions. The official death toll stood at 111,500 as of January 24, according to the Haitian government officials, with another 200,000 people reported injured. Just 132 people were pulled alive from collapsed buildings in the past two weeks. In addition to losing their loved ones and their homes, millions of Haitians also lack the basic necessities of life: food, water and clothing among them. It is a desperate situation.
The mobile industry is buzzing about Internet giant Google’s proposed $750m, all-stock acquisition of mobile advertising network AdMob, which was announced November 9. It is a huge deal, and seemingly an acknowledgement by Google that it has not been able to sufficiently develop its own mobile advertising capabilities internally, even though it has been offering mobile display search advertisements for some time.
The UK-based text-to-screen provider SpinVox has been forced to issue two strongly-worded statements on July 23 and July 26, in which it defended its technology platform and the way that it offers its speech-to-text services.