Research Notes

More Than 80% of the Norwegian mobile population have used Premium SMS

The Norwegian mobile operators are paving the way for operators all over the world on the right way to stimulate premium mobile services – and get their mobile customers to use them – and the results speak for themselves! Today over 80% of all the Norwegian mobile customers have used premium SMS mobile services.

Ever since the launch of WAP, one of the most discussed subjects at mobile conferences across the world has been: Who’s responsibility is it to get mobile services launched? The old proverb “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” has often been used in this connection, when mobile operators have shrugged off suggestions that they are themselves responsible for creating the foundation for premium mobile services.

The two mobile operators in Norway, Telenor and NetCom have never been in doubt on whose responsibility it is and have led the way in Europe, with Telenor creating their CPA (Content Provider Access) model already back in early 2000. The CPA model gave content providers an easy way of offering premium mobile services under their own brands to the mobile customers – with favourable and well-defined revenue sharing models.

The whole way the Norwegian mobile operators have handled mobile services since they first started offering premium SMS services way back in October 1997 has been exceptional. The basic strategy has been to stimulate content providers to create and market mobile services themselves by offering good revenue sharing business models and a well defined interface to offer their services, thereby boosting the premium mobile services market that the operators believed had enormous potential.

Before creating their CPA model, Telenor tried their hand at creating their own premium SMS services. Launched in 1997, Telenor’s first services were mostly informational and had little entertainment value. Realising that a mobile operator’s role is not that of a content provider, Telenor opened up for content providers to join in using Telenor’s new CPA model and both promote and grow the premium SMS market. Instantly their premium SMS market exploded in Norway, only taking slumps when there was a lack of new services.

Both mobile operators are constantly revising, testing and refining new innovative features and business models to help content providers not only benefit from mobile services, but also help migrate both their content providers and customers towards a very healthy 3G mobile services market.

Today Telenor’s CPA model offers revenue sharing business models on both SMS, WAP and MMS. Add to that that Telenor have created integrated bonus schemes, that reward content providers who focus on WAP and MMS as well as SMS premium services. Also Telenor have made the MMS revenue sharing models very attractive with splits of up to 87% for the content providers. Altogether, this means that it is simply in the content providers financial interest to create and promote both new MMS and WAP services, while still making money on existing SMS services – thereby creating a demand for the new mobile terminals with the mobile customers, who have to buy the next generation mobile phones to try all the new premium services.

This is a very different situation from many other countries in Europe right now where there is still little or no incentive for content providers to create new MMS or WAP services – leading us back to the egg and the chicken.

Mobile users need a lot of persuading to upgrade to the latest 2.5G mobile phones if there are only few new mobile applications and services for them – and most content providers do not want to spend money creating any 2.5G premium services before there is critical mass of mobile phones that can buy and use them!

The Norwegian mobile business models are now being widely taken up, while the Norwegian mobile operators are still very busy ensuring content providers new features and incentives to keep those new mobile services coming. Premium mobile services revenue in Norway are up over 50% in 2003 compared to 2002. Today over 80% of all Norwegians have purchased premium mobile services. The 20 – 30 year olds are the biggest buyers – not the teenagers – and the +40 group is growing rapidly. The latest places we have seen the Norwegian mobile business models being taken up are as far away as in the USA and Canada.

In 2002, premium SMS services generated 1.2 billion Euro – 74% of the total value of the mobile services market. But this monopoly on the services market will change drastically up to 2005. Even though revenue from SMS services will increase in 2003 to over 2.8 billion Euro, it will already have lost 25% of its market share. And from then it is downhill all the way to 2005 – when premium SMS services will only be able to pull in a meagre 1.5 million Euro – just 7% of the total mobile services revenue in Western Europe!

All the figures about how the mobile markets will develop up to 2005 are described in Strand Consults latest report ” Facts & Figures – The Current And Future Western European Market For Mobile Services” In connection with the compilation of Strand Consults reports about the Western European market for SMS and MMS P2P messages and Premium Mobile Services based on SMS/EMS, MMS, WAP and Mobile Applications, Stand Consult has collected, analysed and presented a great deal of information and actual sales data. This work was done to enable us to estimate the current and future market value of both P2P mobile messages and Premium Mobile Services.

This 300+ page report “Facts & Figures – The Current And Future Western European Market For Mobile Services” contains the full collection of Strand Consults mobile services revenue estimates up to 2005 for 16 countries in Western Europe. All the data is based on actual sales figures from across Europe in 2002 and presented in well-arranged graphs and tables and is very easy to navigate
More information “Facts & Figures”
More information “How to make Money”
More information “Understanding SMS and MMS Service Market”

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