30 Oct 2012

In the African mobile jungle, content is king

Arun Nagar, CEO and Managing
Director for Spice VAS Africa


Arun Nagar is the CEO and Managing Director for Spice VAS Africa. Today he shares his thoughts on Africa's mobile market.

Africa’s mobile market is not only the fastest-growing in the world; it’s also the most challenging for operators and service providers: low revenues per customer, high levels of churn and 96% of the population on prepaid tariff plans.

By now, the market has evolved to the point where operators cannot be content to just focus on new customers – that is, people who have never owned a mobile phone before. Today, they need to attract new customers, hold on to existing customers, and offer compelling products and services.

Africa’s fastest-growing mobile services company, Spice VAS Africa has a simple recipe for success: have deep local understanding of various markets, tailor your product offering accordingly, and then attract and retain customers through a combination of great content and innovative value-added services.

Arun Nagar the CEO and Managing Director of Spice believes the company’s focus on content will revolutionise the Africa mobile industry for operators and mobile users alike. He says the African mobile market is “rich with opportunity” for operators to lock in customer loyalty and market share with great content, and the penetration rates Spice has achieved in Africa in the past five years – up to 25% in some markets - talks to the success of this approach.

Of course, when we talk about content in Africa, we generally mean music. Today, Spice VAS Africa is one of the leading VAS content owners in Africa in terms of the number of record labels signed exclusively with the company, the overall number of artists and the different ways it can deliver content to the end user.

Spice, one of the biggest VAS platform providers on the continent, has already signed some of the continent’s top music labels to bolster a compelling line-up of mobile offerings. What this means is that African mobile users are starting to experience something of a revolution in their mobile music experience, with functionalities that allow users to create personalised playlists on any phone, effectively turning even the cheapest phones into veritable iPods.

Spice has 43 services live in 19 networks across 12 countries in Africa and growing. In its newest market, South Africa, Spice has only been operating for six months, but has already signed deals with music labels like Universal, EMI, Soul Candi, Ghetto Ruff, Vonk Musiek, Real Musiek and Select Musiek.
 
Across Africa, it boasts tie-ups with some 560 artists, including Mi Casa, HHP, Rose Muhando and many more.

Spice is headquartered in Singapore, but has grown its operations across Africa rapidly in the past two years on the back of a product suite that includes voice and infotainment products and managed services.

Spice is a proud sponsor of Africa Com, taking place in November - find out more, visit www.comworldseries.com/africa