GSMA is the global trade association representing more than 690 GSM mobile phone operators across 214 territories and countries of the world. This year’s event comes up February 11th – 14th in Barcelona, Spain.

The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators.

GSMA’s work is focused on two areas, emerging services and emerging markets. The GSMA helps its members develop and launch new services, ranging from mobile instant messaging to video sharing to mobile Internet access, which will work across networks and across national boundaries. At the same time, the GSMA is heavily engaged in the industry’s push to extend basic voice and text services to more people in emerging markets.

Nigeria had always had a good representation during this fiesta. All operators and National regulator are always well represented in previous editions .At the award last year, MTN Communications Nigeria, won the community service initiative through its Rural Telephony project.

I have strong doubt if Nigeria’s representatives to these yearly event are really taking part or following the trend of attendance and innovation, given the successes that mobile marketing has achieved all over the world. Media organizations are the major innovations champions at the events.

CNBC, Time and CNN are very visible partners because they had seen the future and they know it is mobile. For most media outfits in Europe and America, mobile is now a significant channel of reaching the masses with most of them offering mobile version of all conventional offerings. Nigerians happen to be the major consumer of those mobile offerings. British Broadcasting Corporation reported that Nigerians constitute the highest numbers of wap users accessing its wap platform, worldwide at 61 percent!. This is a example of a strong compelling content.

Nigeria mobile operators rush off to attend a conference where mobile Technology innovations will be at its best. There is no where else in the whole world to find so many key telecoms decisions makers. They could as well used those opportunities to network and know how they achieved mobile marketing success stories in those places but rather they will export rivalry based on fictitious subscriber base which are not even well served. 

Growth is stifled in the Vas market in Nigeria because National mobile operators are playing safe and concentrating only on mass services for which content is readily available and chances of failure less. Entertainment value added service despite the fact that its practical value is minimal, is popular because of is mass appeal especially to youth segment and it is promoted over Mobile commerce and infotainment which has the capacity to create real value for subscribers. Mere deployment of the 3G Networks will not automatically incite Content aggregators to start developing contents. Additional investments in supporting infrastructure like in areas of Digital map for those going into location based VAS which promises to be one of the leading services in Enterprise solution VAS in Nigeria.

Present situation in the Nigeria Mobile marketing sector is not encouraging because the major players don’t seems to understand the dynamism of the market and how it can help shift the focus from conventional media to the new digital media. Even with the very invisible 3G services of MTN and Glo, they are not even pretending to try and improve on those services. For these reasons, mobile marketing seems a tasking and unrewarding venture in Nigeria while players in South Africa, Europe and America are smiling to the Bank with Nigerian consuming those contents.

We have the advantage of young and vibrant youth population with appreciable injection of high end devices that can perform many functions but the excuses remain that low end mobiles are mostly used and hence cannot be provisioned for sophisticated services.3G is never mass market anywhere in the world.

Despite the pressing need and readiness of Nigerians to consume these innovative services, the mobile operators even with 3G cannot see the opportunities in developing the ecosystem with content owners and the media. The annual Mass exodus to GSMA conferences in Barcelona, Spain will serve no purpose if Network operators cannot initiate their own local gatherings here in Nigeria, to develop a sustainable Mobile Value added service ecosystem in Nigeria.

Emmanuel Okoegwale
[email protected]


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