VAS Monetisation Pays Off For Independents
BMI's long-held view that the Latin American region holds great potential for non-voice mobile value-added services (VAS) continues to play out. Besides noting rising usage of such services, operators and distributor partners have observed growing sales of smartphones and other connected devices. However, despite these positives, operators are struggling to monetise VAS, a difficulty highlighted by the latest results from mobile content vendor Mobile Streams, a company that sees more opportunities in the open mobile Internet application ecosystem.
Although based in the UK, Mobile Streams focuses mainly on Latin America, where it provides content distribution and carrier billing services for many of the region's largest mobile network operators. Its revenues increased by 14% in the six months to December 31 2013, to GBP27mn. Of that figure, GBP25.8mn was derived from its open mobile Internet business. This was up by 20.6% over the six-month period and was driven, it says, by consumers' shift away from operator-specific to open access smartphones and tablets.
Mobile Streams was serving 4mn billed active subscriptions in Latin America at the end of 2013, up from 2.7mn a year earlier. The vast majority of those subscriptions are found in Argentina, but Mexico represents its fastest-growing market, with subscription numbers up by 154.2% y-o-y to 300,000. Negative subscription growth was seen in Colombia, however, down by 18.5% to 75,000, while the contribution made by its nascent Brazilian activities was 'immaterial'. By contrast, Telefonica-owned Movistar saw non-voice service revenue growth stall in Argentina in 2013, while revenue in Mexico contracted markedly.
|Smartphones A Double-Edged Sword For Operators|
|Smartphone Shipments Per Annum ('000)|