Syniverse Spotlights Sponsored Data at Mobile World Congress Shanghai

Earlier this year, at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, I talked about how this event represents one of my favorite times of the year. And last week, in Shanghai, I had the pleasure to experience this favorite time again, at the recently renamed Mobile World Congress Shanghai. Here are a few highlights.

Syniverse's news conference at Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

Syniverse’s news conference at Mobile World Congress Shanghai.

This year’s event, the fourth year it’s been held by the GSMA (previously under the name Mobile Asia Expo), set a new record for attendance, with a 54 percent increase in the number of visitors. They included over 40,000 attendees from the industry’s leading mobile operators, device makers, equipment providers, software companies and Internet companies, as well as technology-savvy consumers. Keynote speakers included executives from such industry leaders as China Mobile, NTT DOCOMO, and LG Uplus, just to name a few. The theme of the show was “Mobile Unlimited,” and it focused on how mobile technology – from connected cars and wearable technologies to mobile payments and smarter cities – is revolutionizing and enhancing every aspect of our lives.

The highlight of Syniverse’s attendance was a news conference where we announced that consumer brands and mobile service providers in Asia Pacific could unlock an annual revenue opportunity of as much as $6 billion by 2019 through sponsored data services. We explained that today’s mobile consumers are more data-hungry than ever, but many limit their access to mobile content. As a result, companies and mobile operators miss out on the business this access could generate.

Presenting the sponsored data study findings at our news conference.

Presenting the sponsored data study results at our news conference.

To better understand this opportunity in the Asia market, Syniverse commissioned a survey and found that consumers are generally willing to accept the branding of content, advertising and promotional material in return for free data access. Critically, what we calculated and discussed at the news conference was that companies and operators can realize substantial usage increases by working together to deliver sponsorship of mobile data – as much as $6 billion in Asia by 2019, and as much as $23 billion worldwide by 2019.

My colleague, George Guo, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific for Syniverse’s Enterprise and Intelligence Solutions organization, joined me to co-present the study results.

My colleague, George Guo, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific for Syniverse’s Enterprise and Intelligence Solutions organization, joined me to co-present the study results.

MWC_Shanghai_2015_InfographicThese findings are boiled down in an infographic (on the right) that we created and also unveiled at the news conference.

The highlights of the study were also shared in the resulting media coverage, including “Sponsored mobile data could lead to revenue hike in Asia – study,” which appeared in Total Telecom.

In addition to the news conference, Syniverse participated in several speaking sessions at Mobile World Congress Shanghai and the associated MVNO International Summit. At a Mobile Identity Solutions Panel, I discussed how “mobile context” information – individual subscriber data about such activities as where subscribers like to go, what mobile communication channels they like to use, and what mobile purchase they like to make – offers new solutions for protecting against fraud and unlocking new hyperpersonalized marketing opportunities.

Following that, at the MVNO International Summit, I led a session titled Delivering a Differentiated Mobile Experience that explored how mobile virtual network operators could optimize the user experience, increase engagement and value to users, and maximize monetization through new business models. Meanwhile, my colleague, George Guo, Corporate Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific for Syniverse’s Enterprise and Intelligence Solutions organization, moderated a session, The State of the Chinese MVNO Market, which included a panel of industry luminaries.

All in all, it was an extremely rewarding and insightful week that brought to light the incredible opportunities taking shape in Asia’s dynamic mobile market. We’re especially excited about what’s ahead for sponsored data in Asia, and we look forward to helping companies and operators deliver these services to customers.

I would love to get your thoughts. Have you had any opportunity to do business in Asia? If so, what are your thoughts on the future of this rapidly growing region? If not, what are your thoughts on the role the Asia mobile market will play in the next few years?

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Mary Clark is a former Chief Corporate Relations Officer and Chief of Staff at Syniverse.

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