Saturday, April 12, 2014
SingTel Group and Samsung cooperate to accelerate mobile data growth in the region
On the sidelines of the Galaxy S5 launch in Singapore today, the SingTel Group - comprising SingTel (Singapore), Optus (Australia), AIS (Thailand), Airtel (India, Africa), Globe Telecom (Philippines) and Telkomsel (Indonesia) - and Samsung today announced 4 joint initiatives to encourage the growth of mobile data in the region, benefiting over 500 million customers in all.
Retail Collaboration Programme
This allows select Samsung Stores to provide the respective local carrier's sign-up services, providing a simpler retail experience for customers. Currently available in Philippines and soon to be available for India and Indonesia.
Those who visited the Samsung pop-up store (well, sort of) outside Ngee Ann City some time ago may remember this in action. It certainly does drive sign-ups of customers who are already considering getting a Samsung smartphone with SingTel, but for walk-ins, at least in Singapore, I think this won't be so effective, since we're so used to getting everything done at a telco outlet anyway.
Direct Carrier Billing with Samsung Apps
Singapore already offers this and it will be rolled out to Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia. Customers can buy Samsung apps and content by either charging to their mobile bills or deducting from their prepaid balances.
This was most interesting to me. Alistair Johnston, CMO of Telkomsel (above left), revealed in the Q&A of the press conference that Direct Carrier Billing is an attractive alternative to payment by credit cards, which do not enjoy as high a penetration rate in emerging markets. Pratthana Leelapanang, SVP for Digital Service of AIS (above right), noted that NFC technology is being used in Thailand as a direct means of payment for public transport (ie, using your smartphone as an EZ-Link card) as well as cashless contactless payment for about 300 major establishments such as fast-food chains, and this can be linked to Direct Carrier Billing.
Mobile App Development Programme
This is just basically calling on start-ups around the region to bring their development ideas to the SingTel Group and Samsung, and if they like it they will accelerate their development and open access to the half a billion mobile customers around the region. Selected developers will have their apps marketing in Singapore, Australia, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia.
Nothing new, and I'm no expert on this, but dang those figures look real good to me.
Direct Access to Applications
Gonna have to be honest here - this is a fancy term for pre-loaded apps by the telco, albeit "carefully customised to reflect local requirements and content", starting with the Galaxy S5. Will be available to Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia.
Take what you will of it.
All in all, this sounds like a promising push, with SingTel flexing its international muscles by bringing so many telcos in on it. Perhaps there'll be a progress update on the morning of the Galaxy S6 launch.
If you aren't already thinking about that SingTel... time to start planning? :)
After the press conference the media were invited down to witness the commencement of sales for the Galaxy S5. First 10 customers in the queue were rewarded with an extra (quite good) goodie bag.