SMS is the new black

A review of mass market mobile apps

Archive for the ‘Operators’ Category

Blogging thanks to T-Mobile

Posted by Admin on February 19, 2009

Things have started to die down here at Mobile World Congress, so I’ve taken the opportunity to catch up on a bit of work and do  a bit of blogging. I’m able to do that thanks to T-Mobile – as I’m sat in its hospitality area using the free Wi-Fi.

So thanks T-Mobile.



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Anam announces new customers

Posted by Admin on February 17, 2009

At Mobile World Congress, Anam has announced that three new operators have signed up to its Smart Services. The operators have not been named, but they are based in Taiwan, Ireland and Vietnam.

These operators have bought Anam’s Smart Services which means that they will be launching services like Messaging+ – adding email-like functionality to SMS (eg setting up an out-of-office alert); and Anti-SPAM – which blocks unwanted messages.

They could also adopt services like Ad-Funded SMS – which inserts ads into text messages; Parental Control, which allows parents to block unwelcome messages from their child’s handset; and SMS Money Transfer, which allows users to send money to contacts in their address book, simply by using a standard text message.

These new deals all come on top of Anam’s recent announcement about ‘Free Texts for Life’ to operators.

Gerry McKenna, CEO of Anam, said:
“Our Smart Services solutions are helping many global operators create new, revenue-generating, SMS-borne services. Subscribers like these services because they can easily understand and access them, yet they also create increased revenues for operators.”

And he’s right about subscribers liking them – they understand SMS and if a new service is easy to understand and access (because it uses SMS), then it is more likely to get mass adoption.

“These deals highlight the value that our Smart Services solutions can bring to global mobile operators, with about another eight million mobile subscribers now able to access services like Messaging+,” said Jote Bassi, VP Global Sales and Marketing at Anam. “It’s great to see the hard work and dedication of our worldwide team and support staff continuing to produce some excellent results.”

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For full disclosure – I do some work for Anam

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Orange launches Seamless Switch to help companies change provider

Posted by Admin on January 29, 2009

According to recent research from Orange, carried out by Vanson Bourne, one of the main reasons that companies don’t change mobile provider is that the CIO or IT Manager is put off and nervous by all the hassle and potential for disaster that could ensue – you can see it now, in the middle of changing provider the CEO’s number stops working.

Well, Orange is hoping to help out by launching the Seamless Switch service. It means that companies changing provider (presumably to Orange and not away from them!) can benefit from:

– a dedicated account team to help tailor the right solutions for their business;
– any network coverage concerns put to rest, with a full on-site analysis of the Orange network in key locations;
– a dedicated Project Manager to look after the logistics of the entire implementation process;
– device customisation services and tailored training programmes;
– easy account management with flexible billing structures and free web tools to keep on top of payments.

Robert Ainger, Director, Corporate Marketing, Orange UK said of the service:

“Swapping providers is a big deal for any business. It takes time and organisation … The Seamless Switch portfolio of services ensures that all our customers can move to a better, more cost effective solution without any trouble. This gives them time to concentrate on their business rather than worrying about whether their new phones will work!”

This has been launched mainly for larger organisations, but a spokesperson for Orange confirmed that SMEs can benefit from a similar service that is telephone and web-based.

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Free Texts for Life for Mobile Operators

Posted by Admin on January 28, 2009

logo-lo-res1That’s the announcement that Anam made yesterday. It has removed the charge for capacity licences for its Eclipse SMSX short messaging platform. This will mean that operators don’t have to worry about the cost of buying additional licences as SMS traffic volumes increase, allowing them to simply and easily introduce more SMS based services.

Previously, SMS infrastructure has been priced on a volume basis with mobile operators paying higher license fees if they wanted their network to be able to process more messages. This meant that every time there was an increase in volume, operators’s costs also increased.

Gerry McKenna, CEO of Anam, said:

“This is the 18th year that Anam’s engineers have been involved in the design and development of Short Messaging systems and in that time usage and volumes have grown dramatically. Although the capacity of messaging systems has grown to meet this demand, the cost of purchasing and maintaining high performance SMS platforms has remained high. This has limited the potential growth of SMS-borne services such as funds transfer, content distribution, parental control and advertising-funded SMS.”

As this blog regularly highlights, text messaging has continued to grow and grow in popularity. And it’s not just simple text messages either – it’s all the services introduced by companies such as AQA and SpinVox that are based on SMS.

Good move by Anam and it might shake the market up a bit and persuade operators to spend a bit more time and energy on SMS-based apps. See more here.

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Disclaimer – Anam is a supporter of this blog.

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Virgin’s ‘Rule Of Thumb’ in India

Posted by Jon Russell on January 26, 2009

virgin-indiaAn interesting development in the India sub-continent mobile market has emerged this week with Virgin Mobile India introducing a new tariff aimed squarely at text-addicts in the country.

Dubbed ‘New Thumb Rule’, this offer is unique to its market as it allows customers to send 100 national and 100 local text messages for free every day after paying for the first three messages of each type. According to Virgin, the offer has been  named to reflect the importance of the thumb to mobile users who write and send a lot of SMS messages.

Virgin India has adopted the same disruptive aims as its UK cousin, albeit with more success, since launching nine months ago. This initiative, along with the company’s ‘earn money for incoming calls’ package, is an excellently thought out manoeuvre which will give the company stand-out value with youth and young professionals in India’s rapidly maturing mobile market.

The company is not yet declaring subscription figures but we will endeavour to keep you posted with other innovative ideas which it introduces.

If you’d like to know more  about India’s mobile market head to this 2009 preview article at Indian entrepreneur Rajesh Jain’s blog.

News courtesy of India PR Wire.

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Alan Pascoe of Tekelec answers our questions

Posted by Admin on January 20, 2009

Over in North Carolina in the US, a multi-media mobile messaging specialist company called Tekelec goes about its business. In the heart of this US company, a Brit, Alan Pascoe, works as the Senior Manager of Product Marketing. Alan gave me some of his time to answer a few questions.

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tekelec-alan-pascoe-1Please describe your service?
SMS is one of the key underlying services that mobile operators provide. The Tekelec Mobile Messaging Solution ensures that the mobile operators continue to maintain high standards of service by ensuring a cost effective and seamless transport of mobile messages. Tekelec Mobile Messaging Solution also serves as a platform that launches a wide range of new and innovative text-based services that will generate more revenues from SMS. Operators can also use the solution to install firewalls that block spam and insert advertising in text messages.

Why use it?
The Tekelec Mobile Messaging Solution enables operators to reduce capital and operating costs (CAPEX/OPEX), which is especially valuable in today’s economy. The system also provides operators with the facility to offer consumers opt-in SMS advertising in exchange for discounts on calls, text messages and other services.

What about Consumers?
End-users, or mobile subscribers, access the Tekelec Mobile Messaging Solution whenever they send or receive an SMS. An incentive for the consumer is the fact that Tekelec Mobile Messaging Solution allows operators to offer spam prevention and advanced anti-spoofing features, eliminating any potential threats or irritating spam messages before they reach a subscriber’s handset.

What do you think is the future of mobile applications?
From what we are seeing in the market, the future for the trusted SMS is very bright. The growth in application-based SMSs has been quite dramatic and will keep on growing. The application of SMS has become far reaching, particularly in the area of machine-to-machine (M2M). For example, SMS can replace the current fixed line system that is used to communicate when a vending machine is running low on supplies of drinks or chocolate. Why not install a machine with a wireless device that sends an SMS to an application? This will allow the vending machines to be more flexible and portable, and it reduces the need for a leased transmission line.

Mobile advertising is also an early-stage opportunity to send customers relevant material, since the mobile phone offer the most personal and immediate means to interact with the consumer. However at this stage in the evolution of mobile advertising the key is to get the customers to opt in for the adverts.

Have you got anything else in the pipeline?
At the moment, SMS is a system-wide service, which means that every person gets the same level of service. Tekelec is currently working on a set of new and innovative features that will provide operators with the ability to offer SMS on a personalised level. This new approach will have two big advantages for operators: for one, it will help to reduce churn by offering differentiated services to select customers, and two, there is an opportunity for the operator to increase revenues through these new premium personalised services.

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Thanks Alan. I’m particularly interested in the idea of SMS to work in the M2M area. I think this and the ability for consumers to be able to interact with machines/devices from their phones is, as yet, an under-utilised arena for mobile operators. It’s the perfect use of a mobile phone – switching the heating on while you’re on the train on the way home.

If operators can avoid talking about the technology, but really selling the benefits, I can see everyone sending text messages to the different applications in their house, giving them added control and making their lives easier.

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Vodafone eForum springs into action

Posted by Admin on December 31, 2008

I recently wrote about the problem I’m having with dropped calls. One of the main reasons for the post was to see if the Vodafone eForum is as good as I’ve heard. Well, it seems it is as they responded pretty quickly.

It’s in the comments on the original post, but if you haven’t seen it, this is what they have to say:

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Hi smsisthenewblack

Firstly when looking into this type of problem it can be down to different things including the SIM, The Phone or the network.

I would firstly pop into your local Vodafone store and get them to change your SIM. If tgis doesn’t resolve your issue please register and post on the Vodafone eForum and we will do our best to help you.


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Thanks James. I’ll pop into a store over the next week or so and see what happens – and I’ll let you know.

If you’re still listening though, I’d love to know what happens to the people that don’t have access to the web like I do. Do their problems get ignored? Who’s listening to them and how do you get in touch. I think the eForum is a great idea, but it should be available without the ‘e’. How can my mum get in touch if she’s got a problem?

It’d be great if you could get in touch again.

Posted in Operators, Voice | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

12 Days of Christmas – Vodafone keeps dropping my calls

Posted by Admin on December 29, 2008

For a while now I’ve been having one major problem with my phone … it keeps dropping calls. It’s happened on a number of occasions, while talking to a number of different people and in a number of different locations. So although that is hardly scientific, my research tells me that it’s pretty likely to be a fault at my end and not theirs. It’s happened on a couple of different phones and also, it only started when I changed provider to Vodafone.

Ironically, one of the reasons I moved to Vodafone was because of the quality of service, many people had told me that the network was very good and that reliability was excellent. Although I hadn’t really noticed a problem before with other networks those issues were obviously important to me, so I moved to Vodafone.

Now, dropping a call and then phoning the person straight back is hardly a life-threatening problem. But it is a bit embarassing, especially when all I did was take a pace to the left (or whatever). And to happen once is something that I wouldn’t really think about. But it happens about once a week and is starting to annoy me.

The only reason I’m writing this post is because I understand that Vodafone has a team of people on the lookout for posts just like this. They then jump into action and apologise (I’m presuming they can’t actually fix the problem as it’s a network issue, although I suppose we could try a new sim to see how that goes for a while). That’s ok for me if they get in touch, but what about my mum who doesn’t write a blog and will just be convinced that mobiles are a bit flaky and if calls don’t work well then why on earth should she trust her phone to download a music file / game / photo etc?

Posted in Annoying, Operators | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

Children made aware of Cyber Bullying

Posted by Admin on December 22, 2008

I saw this story in one of the local papers in the UK about Cyber Bullying. A group of BTEC students has gone round some local schools to give them the message – “block, delete, escape, report, decline”.

The group was given a £2,000 budget to create the roadshow. Performer Nick Kidd said: “I played one of the central characters in the production. It was hard work but the message seemed to go out loud and clear making it a very rewarding experience.”

You can read more about it here.

I know that text bullying is a big issue and a number of operators are looking into it. The Irish Times recently did a piece on it as the Irish government has started to look at the issue much more closely. Also, the Norweigan operator Telenor has introduced a new system with the help of Anam.

Posted in Industry, Operators | Tagged: , | 2 Comments »

Sending text spam could cost €250,000

Posted by Admin on December 22, 2008

The government in Ireland has introduced a new law that means they could fine companies that send spam, whether sent by email or text message, up to €250,000 or 10% of revenues. Eamon Ryan, the communications minister, has introduced the new law which increases the maximum fine from €3,000.

Tony Delaney, assistant Data Protection Commissioner, said of the new law:

“Now the commissioner will be able to prosecute serious or persistent offenders in the Circuit or High Court, in some cases in front of a jury. Many of the chief offenders in Ireland are multi-million euro offenders, so the power to seize turnover will be a huge deterrent.”

The new law has been introduced in time for Christmas, when the sending of unsolicited text messages can rise. “A lot of companies sending out these messages use events such as Christmas or Valentine’s Day to mislead people into replying to texts, and unwittingly sign up for premium services,” Delaney said.

The Office of the Data Protection Commissioner (ODPC) received 390 complaints last year about “spam”, chiefly unsolicited text messages. That is a rise from only 66 complaints in 2005.

You can read more from the Sunday Times here.

I know that helping operators manage text message spam is something that the site’s sponsors Anam can help with. If you’re interested you should give them a call.

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