MNP here; mobile content thoughts

This is a busy week for the MCMC. They’ve just announced that Mobile Number Portability (MNP), will now be a reality (a rather delayed reality. There is a FAQ available. Key things to note:

  • Don’t terminate your mobile number before porting – only active numbers can be ported
  • If you’re contractually bound (12 months, etc – such offers apparently can exist, with incentives to consumers) porting will be denied (unless you break your contract, I guess)
  • Prepaid users beware – all existing credit doesn’t transfer over – so use it all up!
  • A request to port, therefore, is notice to your current provider to terminate subscription
  • Porting can take between 5-10 business days (utter bollocks, this kind of thing should take hours)
  • You may get suspended international roaming during porting, so beware

Its about time. It will only cost a minuscule RM25 to change the provider. Customer service will clearly have to improve (this would be the sole reason I move off a network, IMHO)

A long time ago, Adam (017 – now owned by Maxis) used to offer “free calls” to 017 numbers, for users on a postpaid plan; plus they had the cheapest prepaid options. I was a heavy phone user in those days – it was a long time ago, during the Nokia 5110 days (so late 90s?).

Wonder how many new service offerings like this will crop up? Optus has free 20 minute calls to Optus customers (Yes Time, from 8pm-midnight), 3 has free 3-to-3 calls for 10 minutes anytime of the day, and so on. But knowing what service provider people are on, is key. This is the main reason I carried 2 SIM cards (and phones) in Melbourne.

Well, here’s to saying goodbye to 012/017 being Maxis, 013/019 being Celcom, and 016 being DiGi.


I’m sitting here at a talk about the mobile industry now, and its all mostly focused on an overview of the mobile platform(s). Its basic (for me, but from the wide range of attendees, I think they got a lot out of it)… Location based services, APIs, Java, XHTML, all the joyous buzzwords. There’s plenty to do in the mobile industry, in terms of content creation in Malaysia (and Australia, fwiw). Lots of sites don’t have mobile specific sites, and scrolling, etc. is a pain.

Wild idea being thrown around in my head… Content creation isn’t complicated. At the last government event I attended, apparently, MOSTI has got lots of money to throw around. Some of the amusing things people got 5-figure funding for, included a guide to Malaysian beaches (not mobile related) available. Smells to me like a weekend hack for easy money.

Bandwidth is a problem… Metered bandwidth per kilobyte/megabyte isn’t something many in Malaysia think about (anyone in Australia knows the pain of this – but limitations make us present content better, IMHO). Its expensive. But I think this is a problem that will fix itself, as mobile data becomes more ubiquitous.

Then comes how to monetise this whole shindig. An interstitial does not work – they are annoying, they are a waste of bandwidth, and Mowser tried them and I believe removed them because they were largely a failure.

Mobile AdWords? Google doesn’t believe there is a market for this in Malaysia (or maybe anywhere else outside of the US). Its chicken-and-egg – till a market is built, Google won’t enter it, I’d guess.

Banners? The Star has it on their mobile site. They don’t have any public information as to how successful they’ve been. But this seems like the strongest option, currently – use an ad system powered by Slash, go out to advertisers and create unique tiny banners for them. However, this goes beyond the weekend hack idea… and that just becomes too much work.

Location based services tied into a mobile website. This could work… My social life is largely unplanned (professional life on the other hand is driven by calendars, that SMS me of appointments, even). Say I’m around the MidValley Shopping Mall, its 12:10am, and I decide I have time to kill. Access the site, it figures that there’s activity at MidValley at that time: bowling, The Dark Knight in Gold Class starting in 10 minutes, etc. Book a ticket through the site, get a commission? Banner ad for bowling, so its a “promoted” link/sponsored link, over the regular stuff (again, breaks the weekend hack rule).

If data is always on, coupled with your location, if you’re near a Burger King, it might blast you with ads saying “bring this coupon in, buy a meal, get a free ice cream”. Bluetooth based advertisers, beware – always on data+location will kick you in the nads.

OK, talk’s over, time to be social! Looks like we won’t have the Google talk after all… Thanks again to Daniel for organising this…

  • http://Akademi.ASIA NaS

    Great thoughts! More to expect from our mobile offerings… If only I can get 3.6Mbps or better mobile broadband already!! (been waiting for too long).

  • http://andygoh.net/blog/ Andy

    Colin, I see some very interesting ideas there, great stuff :)

  • biatch0

    About time, I’ve been paying for my DiGi number for 3 years without using it just because the number was l33t.


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