For the first time this year VAS Africa was co-located with MVNOs Africa, and more than 250 delegates from the two events joined the opening keynote session on June 24th at the Maslow Sandton in Johannesburg.
With strategic insight from Huawei and TA Telecom, together with operator and content viewpoints from Virgin Mobile, Smile and 2Go, the keynote session set the scene for a day discussing innovation in both technology and marketing strategies.
Panellists and speakers assessed the role of operators in the expanding digital ecosystem – dumb pipe/data channel or innovator, with emphasis placed this year on the importance of the role of pipe/channel. The conference went on to discuss the opportunities available from partnerships with OTT players and content providers. Operators should consider aligning their strategies with the likes of skype, viber and whatsapp – to maximise what these players are doing within the operators’ own strategies. Alignment and partnership were deemed to be the way forward, not competition.
Focus on the customer is key. Is the customer educated on the cost of data consumption? Is the app/service easy to use? Is the content relevant and local to the customer? What services will create stickiness? Where is the consumer and how do they prefer to receive the content/services? Also important to remember is that while 154 million African customers use a smartphone, still 931 million use the feature hone.
The first day concluded with the Mobile Marketing and Advertising session, bringing case studies of new ways to target the consumer via mobile. At the heart of the day was the reminder that the operator knows the customer best and thus retains a pivotal role in the expanding digital ecosystem.
Together with the key content take-aways, delegates enjoyed extensive networking opportunities across the VAS and MVNOs events - speed networking, one-to-one introductions and an informal drinks reception at the close of the day. Join us for day two and a focus on Mobile Money, Mobile Music, Social Networking, and Key VAS for the African market.