Successful mobile social communities offer excellent value proposition for global mobile operators.
Mobile social communities that are successful and dynamic enough to quickly adapt their services and content to suit different global markets make the most likely revenue-sharing partners for international Mobile Network Operators. MNOs are looking to keep increasingly savvy mobile users loyal by delivering progressive mobile social networking capabilities. A good example of this is MXit, a South African mobile social network with a total community of over 19 million users in 120 countries. This popular mobile social networking platform is quickly duplicating its South African successes in other regions around the world. In South Africa, its registered user base is 190 times that of Twitter and 8.5 times the community size of Facebook.
The secret lies in MXit’s ability to provide its global MNO partners with a proven revenue-sharing model as well as the level of product innovation and diversity that keeps its users coming back for more. Companies like these have the keen ability to successfully bridge the gap between creating mobile communities that excite and retain users and provide opportunities for MNOs to capitalise on data revenue. According to the Winter 2010 Report released by global software innovator Openwave Systems at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona last month: “Operators could promote MXit as on-deck partner, or as a pre-installed application on the handset, in return for a share of the revenue, as well as promotion of banner ads, or even content downloads.” “Creating a successful mobile social network goes beyond applying mere technology, resources and infrastructure. To build a social environment that adds value to your offering and business, you have to invest considerable resources in creating the right management and innovation environment – as well as the marketing, acquisition, engagement and retention of users, and of course having a solid business model to back this up. This is the cornerstone of our success,” says Herman Heunis, CEO and founder of MXit South Africa. MXit leads the innovation stakes through the delivery of a deeply entrenching consumer journey. Some key innovations include:
• An M-commerce platform that includes the integration of a successful classified section and mobile wallet technology. Already vastly popular, MXit’s classified feature, called Xchange, is poised to offer buyers and sellers anything from airline tickets to iPods.
• The recently launched MXit EVO – a free Webchat widget that enables a blogger or web owner to immediately launch a social networking community on their site. Once embedded, the fully customisable widget facilitates real-time conversations with potential customers, which is a bonus for entrepreneurs, small to medium business and even large corporations or organisations. It allows business owners to create a branded online community for deeper engagement with potential customers and supporters. MXit EVO users can also connect with friends on multiple platforms through gateways (including Yahoo, Windows Live Messenger, Google Talk and AIM); or update their Facebook and Twitter profiles without ever having to log off.
• MXit Music, its popular music download platform that has launched close to 1,000 Indiebands in South Africa – and is soon to launch in its targeted countries.
• MXit has become an enormous social, life skill and educational resource for users, especially in its home country, South Africa, where it offers educational features such as online Math tutorials, learner driver licence assistance, HIV/Aids education and games that teach users how to save energy. It also offers counselling features for substance abusers, and for teens and young adults suffering from the effects of physical and mental abuse.
The global mobile market consists of 4.6 billion users and, according to the GSM Association, the next billion users are expected to access the internet for the first time using their mobile phones. Collaboration between successful social networks and telcos is a perfect way for mobile networks to increase and retain subscribers without necessarily developing their own mobile social networks from scratch or incurring the astronomical costs involved.
MXit is a global mobile instant messaging and social network that allows users to chat to one another on their mobile phones or PC anywhere in the world. It also allows users to send text messages to and from mobile phones and PCs using GPRS or 3G instead of using standard SMS technology, which is expensive. MXit delights its users by continuously unveiling social networking, entertainment, communication and lifestyle features that benefit and enrich their lives. This commitment towards innovation is the cornerstone of its success. A next generation company, MXit boasts 19 million global users. It attracts at least 25 000 to 28 000 users per day. It is in constant evolution to match the needs of its users; and is set on becoming one of the biggest instant messaging mobile networks in the world and the preferred mobile social network for communicating with young people in Africa, South East Asia, South America and the rest of the world. MXit first introduced mobile instant messaging to South Africa in 2003. It started as a mobile game developer and evolved into a mobile instant messaging company, allowing its users to send messages at a fraction of the cost of traditional SMS.