Sprint’s New Customized Plan Goes After Moms, Gives Data Away Dirt Cheap

Advertising Age

Virgin Mobile Offering Gives Unlimited Access to Facebook, Twitter and Other Popular Apps

By .  2014

The big four wireless carriers are on a mad dash to the bottom, when it comes to price. And Sprint has pinpointed the two targets for its latest maneuver: moms and the app-obsessed.

On Wednesday, Virgin Mobile, Sprint’s pre-paid mobile brand, introduced a new phone plan that allows subscribers to customize and adjust their voice, text and data plans. The program — Virgin Mobile Custom — targets low-income shoppers and goes on sale August 9th, exclusively at Walmart. It’s also aimed at parents, who can tweak usage for the plans, which start at $6.98 a month and extend to four lines.

Virgin Mobile CustomVirgin Mobile CustomEssentially, Virgin is creating a blank slate phone — it can be stripped as bare as a customer wants or loaded up with apps.

Sprint’s offering has another lure beyond price: for an additional $5, subscribers can claim unlimited access to one of four social apps — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest — or three music streaming ones — Pandora, Spotify and SoundCloud. For $15 a month, they can get all the social media behemoths. (more…)

Mexico Becomes Latin America’s #1 Mobile Market


by Jesús Benítez@US Media Consulting on JANUARY 17, 2014 in INTERNET, MEXICO, MOBILE

Mexico Becomes Latin America’s #1 Mobile MarketThis post is also available in: Spanish

A new report from eMarketer indicates that smartphone use in Mexico grew by nearly 50% in 2013 and that in 2014 there will be more than 6 million new smartphone users in Mexico. This surge means that there will be a total of 33.3 million Mexican smartphone users in 2014. Given Mexico’s current population of 117 million, this means that smartphone users now make up 28% of the population. Mexico now leads Latin America in smartphone penetration, since smartphone penetration in Brazil is at 23%, at 19% in Chile, at 17% in Peru and at 20% in Argentina. When you couple this increasing smartphone penetration with comScore showing that Mexico leads Latin America in Internet traffic from mobile devices and in tablet adoption/usage, it’s no surprise that marketers in Mexico are investing more in mobile advertising. In fact, eMarketer projects that in 2014 mobile ad investment in Mexico will increase by 87% to reach US$173 million. In Mexico, mobile represents 19% of the total digital ad spend. This is much higher than the rest of Latin America, in which mobile represents just 6.5% of digital ad spend. For further comparison, in more mature markets like the United States—where smartphone penetration recently reached 65%—mobile accounted for nearly 30% of digital ad spend in 2013. To find out more about how we can help you reach Mexico’s 33 million smartphone users via a strategic mobile ad campaign or Mexico’s 50 million Internet users through an online campaign, please contact us.

How to Bring Financial Services to the Poor: Go Digital

Impatient Optimists

The World Bank says that 90 percent of the globe is now covered by a mobile signal. Making financial services available through phones is a way to extend access to more people, even in remote areas, where it’s unlikely that residents have access to a bank.
Jason Lamb
June 2014

Most of us in the developed world don’t think twice about how we conduct our financial lives. Our paychecks appear automatically in our checking accounts; bills are paid with the tap of a few keys; we swipe our debit card and a barista hands us a cup of coffee. Simple. Convenient. Low cost. Digital. For people in the developing world, it’s another story. It’s much more complicated. It’s hardly ever convenient. And rarely digital.

I’m speaking at the Alliance for Financial Inclusion’s Global Policy Forum today to share the results of a new report from the Gates Foundation and McKinsey & Company, Fighting Poverty, Profitably: Transforming the economics of payments to build sustainable, inclusive financial systems, completed about payment systems around the world. We wanted to learn more about the costs associated with current payment systems and find ways to provide poor people in developing countries with affordable, efficient and secure ways to send and receive money.

What we learned is that digital payments can reduce transaction costs by up to 90 percent, and that the current system could be made more efficient, sustainable and accessible to the poor while also lowering costs for financial providers. But how?

Right now, there’s a dearth of financial services available for poor people in developing countries. More than two-thirds of people in developing countries don’t have access to a bank account of any kind. That number grows to nearly 80 percent in rural sub-Saharan Africa. Without access to financial services, poor households operate almost entirely in the informal economy, using cash or physical assets like jewelry and livestock. Essentially, they are forced to keep their money under the proverbial mattress. (more…)

Telefonica Mexico to focus on competing with Slim in mobile


MEXICO CITY  Tue Jun 3, 2014

People are reflected as they walk past Spanish telecom group Telefonica's flagship store in central Madrid November 8, 2013 file photo.  REUTERS/Sergio Perez

People are reflected as they walk past Spanish telecom group Telefonica’s flagship store in central Madrid November 8, 2013 file photo.


(Reuters) – The Mexican unit of Spain’s Telefonica said on Tuesday it will focus on expanding its mobile business rather than adding new services as it tries to capitalise on a regulatory overhaul and steal market share from telecoms tycoon Carlos Slim.

Mexico is in the midst of a major shake-up of its telecommunications sector, dominated by Slim, whose closest competitor in the mobile market is Telefonica.

The new rules create a so-called universal concession, which will allow companies to offer triple and quadruple play services to customers in mobile, fixed-line, Internet and TV.

Francisco Gil Diaz, Telefonica’s chairman for Mexico and Central America, said cell phone users were the priority.

“For now we’re more interested in deepening our presence in the mobile market,” he told Reuters in an interview. “We aren’t seeing television as part of our service offering.” (more…)

15 Fast Facts about Brazil’s Mobile Market

by Sergio Kligin@US Media Consulting on APRIL 11, 2014 in BRAZIL, MOBILE

In planning mobile campaigns in Brazil or anywhere else, it’s helpful to know the latest numbers. So we put together a quick presentation of key Brazilian mobile market numbers to help our clients and colleagues at agencies and brands.

68 per minute In 2013, Brazilians bought 68 smartphones per minute.

272,000,000 The amount of active mobile lines in Brazil as of the end of the first quarter of 2014. 134% Overall mobile penetration in Brazil as of the end of the first quarter of 2014.

140 million The number of active mobile Internet subscriptions in Brazil as of February 2014, a 50% increase compared to February 2013.

123% The growth in smartphone sales in Brazil in 2013.

35,600,000 The amount of smartphones sold in Brazil in 2013.

23% The projected growth of sales of smartphones, PCs, tablets and notebooks in Brazil during 2014—a total of 71 million units. (more…)

Telecoms boom helps Nigeria become Africa’s biggest economy

ITWeb Africa

Published on 07 April 2014
By Simnikiwe Mzekandaba

Telecoms boom helps Nigeria become Africa’s biggest economy.

Nigeria’s booming telecoms sector has helped cement the West African nation’s status as Africa’s largest economy.

On Sunday it was announced that Nigeria had overtaken South Africa to become the largest economy on the continent and 26th largest economy in the world with a gross domestic product (GDP) of almost $509 billion for 2013.

Nigeria’s current financial status follows a rebasing exercise of its GDP to include sectors such as telecoms and financial services.

It was reported by Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that the country’s GDP was recalculated based on production patterns in 2010, and increasing the number of industries it measures to 46 from 33. The last time Nigeria rebased its GDP was in 1990.

And according to statistics from the NBS, Nigeria’s telecoms sector moved from 0.8% of GDP to 8.6%.

Africa Analysis managing director, Dobek Pater, has told ITWeb Africa that the Nigerian government has long been talking about including the telecoms sector as an official part of the economy.

Nigeria’s telecoms sector is valued at $19 billion and that makes it a significant contributor to that economy, Pater said. (more…)

Mexico Tops Smartphone Market in Latin America With 50 Percent Growth in 2013, Becomes Interest for Mobile Ad Marketers


Posted: Feb 06, 2014
By Michael Oleaga

Nokia Smartphone
Nokia phones on display in a shop. (Photo : REUTERS/Ints Kalnins)

Smartphone usage in Mexico has led to the country become an interest to mobile marketers.

According to eMarketer, mobile phone usage in Mexico is not as common compared to other major Latin American countries, but yet smartphone penetration is “comparatively high.” Smartphone usage in Mexico more than doubled in 2012. In 2013, it grew almost 50 percent again. As a result, eMarketer projected 6.1 million people will be added to Mexico’s smartphone owners population.

With the projection, Mexico could see approximately 33.3 million smartphone users, which is more than one-quarter of the country’s population. According to Mexico’s National Population Council, the country has 118.4 million inhabitants. (more…)

How Young Brazilians Use Mobile Devices

How Young Brazilians Use Mobile Devices

Research firm E.Life recently surveyed more than 500 Brazilians from around the country and from different socioeconomic classes to understand better how they use mobile devices. Below we recap the key study results to help marketers, advertisers and media professionals optimize their mobile ad campaigns in Brazil.

#1 Young people in Brazil are more likely to use smartphones than tablets to access the Internet
The survey results indicated that 91% of Brazilians between 15 and 24 use theirsmartphones to go online, while only 42% use tablets. Brazilians aged 25 to 65 also show heavy use of smartphones to access the Internet (nearly 94%) but are more likely to use tablets (nearly 53%).
If you’re targeting by socioeconomic class, nearly 91% of Brazilians from classes AB access the Internet with smartphones and 57% use tablets. (more…)

The 25 Most Powerful People in U.S. Wireless and Wireline 2013

November 19, 2013

Who are the movers and shakers that make or break the wireless and wireline industries? In this annual list, Fierce ranks the men and women who make the decisions that shape the telecom industry. And for the first time, we’ve included several power players from the wireline side of the business as we found that the gap between wireline and wireless is rapidly narrowing and those who exert influence on one side of the business typically have just as much power on the other.

Gauging a person’s power isn’t an easy task. When we devised this list, we looked for individuals who we believe have a unique mix of influence, business savvy, leadership and technical expertise. We also picked individuals–like T-Mobile US’ (NYSE:TMUS) John Legere or C Spire’s Hu Meena–who are shaking up the industry with innovative offerings.

In the fast-changing world of telecom, power can be fleeting. Some of last year’s top-ranked power brokers no longer make the cut. For example, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s outgoing CEO, has seen his power quotient drop since he announced earlier this year that he would be retiring. Likewise, BlackBerry’s (NASDAQ:BBRY) former CEO Thorsten Heins is no longer on the list after being ousted as the top chief of the company Nov. 4.  And Alcatel-Lucent’s (NYSE:ALU) former CEO Ben Verwaayen, who resigned early this year, is also off the list.

Perhaps just as interesting as those who were ousted from the list are those newcomers who are on the list for the first time. John Legere, T-Mobile’s outspoken and innovative new CEO, is on the list for his company’s disruption of traditional wireless pricing strategies. And so is Maggie Wilderotter, the CEO of Frontier Communications,  a company that  is making interesting inroads in the rural broadband market. (more…)

Telefonica Said to Seek Partner in Mexico to Challenge Slim


By Manuel Baigorri & Patricia Laya - Nov 13, 2013

Telefonica SA (TEF) has approached potential acquisition targets and partners in Mexico, where it’s seeking to challenge billionaire Carlos Slim’s dominance, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Spain’s biggest telecommunications operator has held discussions with companies including Grupo Iusacell SA, a smaller rival co-owned by Ricardo Salinas and pay-TV provider Grupo Televisa SAB, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private. Banco Santander SA (SAN) and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBVA) are working with Madrid-based Telefonica, another person said.

Telefonica SA Logo

Telefonica’s third-quarter revenue in Mexico slid 6.4 percent to 373 million euros, while operating income before depreciation and amortization slumped 41 percent to 67 million euros. Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg

Other potential partners being evaluated include Televisa itself and Megacable Holdings SAB, although a transaction with those companies is less likely because their owners are unwilling to cede control of the assets, the people said.

“It makes perfect sense for Telefonica to boost its presence in Mexico, a market which has great growth potential,” said Alberto Espelosin, who helps manage about 1.3 billion euros ($1.8 billion), including Telefonica shares, at Abante Asesores in Madrid. “The company hasn’t done a great job there so far as it’s proved to be a highly competitive market.” (more…)