Mobile Commerce & Pakistani Telco Industry

M-Commerce is exchange of products & services and to make e-transaction with the help of mobile phones. It came in to existence, especially after 2000 and when CMTO’s applied for licenses to give customer handy services at instant.

In Pakistan, mobile phones are mostly used for voice calling and data services like SMS  but in recent years the value added services have become integral part of Telco’s revenues like CRBT (color ring back tone) and others. Most of CMTO’s are earning sky-scraping ARPU (Average Revenue per User) because of these value added service. But we cannot deny the fact that ARPU based services are the major challenge for Telco’s to maintain brand equity and ARPU’s on the consistent pace.

Common M-Commerce services are:

  • Mobile Ticketing
  • Mobile Vouchers
  • Coupons
  • Balance Sharing
  • Loyalty SMS Cards
  • Content Service Purchasing
  • Location Based Services (LBS)
  • Information Services
  • Mobile Banking
  • Mobile Brokerage
  • Auctions
  • Mobile Purchase
  • Mobile Marketing and Advertising.

Let us review in the context of Pakistani Telco’s M-Commerce services, where most of the services are omnipresent.

Mobilink M-Commerce Services are:

TCS gift service, chat on, Mobilink Yellow Pages, Power Tools (STK: Sim Tool Kit), Info line services (like Daily News alert, Weather update, namaz timings etc), Kissan Services, Job Alerts Mobile Banking (MCB, Standard Charted & Citibank), Mobi -Tunes and many more.

Ufone M-Commerce Services are:

Uloan , Ushare , Visa info services , Ufone Bazar , U-Prize Bond , U Kissan , International recharge , mobile bank (MCB , Standard Charted) , Utrack Tcs, Pay Via Credit Card , Infotainment services (like , forex rates , Bullion rates , stock index etc) , U –Chat , U-Tunes , U-Loan and many more.

Telenor M-Commerce Services are:

Pic share , mobile tv , bubble message , easy load , smart tunes , akhbaar service , IVR music mantra , Islamic portal , Info junction , sports portal , song dedication , Tele Kissan , Telenor Tele doctor , Telenor Friends , Music box , auto advance and many more.

Warid M-Commerce Services are:

Balance Share , FUN store, Wzone by warid , International Top-Up , Find a place , Find a friend , Mobile games , Infotainment services (like , forex rates , bullion rates , stock quotes etc) , currency converters , Urdu SIM tool kit and many more.

Zong M-Commerce Services are:

UK visa services, Infotainment services (daily alerts), Musik station, Video on Demand, Balance sharing, Song dedication, Caller tunes, content downloading and many more.

If we review these services one by one of each Telco, we can easily recognize that most of the services are not communicated with the customers via any marketing medium. Even on ProPakistani we get tens of queries each day, where people ask us about these value added services as they know very little about these services and their procedures.

Most common M-Commerce services is color ring back tone (CRBT) facility known with different names like (U-Tunes, Mobi-Tunes, Smart –Tunes, Zong Dial tunes & Warid Self recorded caller tunes), where every Telco is trying to distinguish in the CRBT service by offering different features like key 1 button press feature or DIY options based on the vendor platform.

My opinion is that telecom companies can do more in this domain and can add additional value to ARPU and in securing their brand equity.

At same time, we cannot ignore mobile banking services in the Pakistan, though deceitful activities are the major issue for these types of services. I think it is still far away, specifically in Pakistan, that customers will be using banking transactions via mobile or using mobiles as a credit/ debit card. It can be value added for customers to convert plastic money into e-money and for Telco’s as source of ARPU from corporate community by using different charging modes available in M-Commerce like, Premium rate calling nos, deducting from credit or registration of credit card i.e. linked to SIM.

Pakistani market is still far behind in use of Technologies like 3G and mobile broadband as it can play vigorous role in the M-Commerce services for its enhancement; customers are still waiting for high speed connections on the mobile. Similarly Telco’s so-called Edge services are not worthy and it is nothing other than having proof of edge on the mobile screen.