When the mobile phone first appeared in the Moroccan market in 1994, it
was initially considered — as in many developed countries — a
luxury, and was used mostly by a small number of business users, which
could afford the then quite high cost of the connection and monthly
subscription charges. In fact, in 1999, 50 per cent of mobile users had
an average revenue per month between DAM 5,000 and 20,000 (USD
510-2,200) — compared the minimum wage in Morocco of about USD 150/month. Even for these users though, the
utilization of mobile services was in most cases limited to 1 or 2 calls
a day, while just 16,5 per cent used the phone for more than ten calls
Revision of the telecommunication law in 1996/1997, and the prospects of
liberalization introduced as of 1999, induced Maroc Telecom to
differentiate its products and to start offering prepaid subscriptions.
Prepaid cards appeared on the market only a few months ahead the
entrance of the second mobile operator, offering end-users the
possibility of having a phone for just a small initial investment,
without having to pay monthly subscriptions.
Mobile user growth, 1997-2003
ANRT Report 2001 and 2002, interviews with ANRT.
The number of mobile users began to grow, exploding a few months later,
when the second operator started to offer its services (see Figure
1). Since then, a multiplicity of offers appeared on the market and today
both operators are offering prepaid either as a part of a which includes a cell phone at a favourable price,
a SIM card and some credit; or simply as a SIM card.
The possibility of buying prepaid cards helped the growth of the
market enormously - primarily because the system is able to address both
the needs of small and
larger users, allowing to the former to buy recharge cards for a very
small amount of money (for a few minutes of conversation), and to
control their expenses, and the latter to
dispose of a large credit, but without the need to pay a monthly
subscription, and with a good choice of price
strategy implemented by operators brought results almost immediately:
the number of mobile users grew threefold from between 1998 and 1999, literally exploding in 2000, when Morocco
passed from less than 400,000 to almost 3,000,000 mobile users,
the country enjoys a telecommunication penetration rate well above the
regional average: at the end of 2002 effective teledensity in Tunisia
and Egypt were barely above 11 per cent, Algeria stood at 6.10 per cent,
as compared with 21 per cent in Morocco.
This solution, however, although engendering a fast growth in the number of mobile customers, does not
always lead to the consequent increase of the utilization of the service and
does not guarantee the progress of the average revenue per user (ARPU),
which remains very low.
operators are more concerned with the problem of creating a
“faithful” client-base and with increasing the utilization of mobile
phones so as to raise ARPU.
of mobile phones has had an important impact on Moroccan society from
social, cultural and economic viewpoints. Mobile communication has
answered the traditional need of this society to communicate orally,
providing users with a new means of getting in touch anytime, anywhere.
While in the nineties, public phone shops (téléboutiques)
helped to achieve universal service objectives, bringing telephones
within a "reasonable distance" and allowing affordable access
to phone services, today, the mobile phone constitutes a further step,
bringing communication services even closer to the members of the
Moroccan population who might otherwise not have had such easy and
Excerpt from ITU
Morrocco case study on “Shaping the Future Mobile Information Society”.
A Korean Mobile Information Society
the twenty-first century gets under way, the Republic of Korea has found
itself at the cutting edge of the information society.With the world
watching, Koreans are taking uncharted steps into a life surrounded by
information. For many, life in Korea has begun to revolve around
high-speed information access. Koreans can access information easily
from state of the art mobile networks and handsets, the world’s most
extensive broadband network, or from 25,000 cybercafés located around
the country. For younger generations, being Korean means being
can be said to be swimming in information. The amount of information
available to Koreans at any time of any day from anywhere can be
overwhelming. Smart phones, PC Bangs, and even broadband-equipped
restaurants all constantly beckon Koreans to keep in touch with
information. This vast access to information seems to go hand-in-hand
with Korea’s bbali bbali culture. Everything is a rush to be
more productive and save time. Mobile networks, both current and in
planning, have greatly expanded productivity and freed up more time for
Koreans to work. However, bbali bbali also has some drawbacks. In
Korean society, people often can’t (or don’t) take time to relax,
disconnect, and enjoy.
Given Korea’s broadband penetration rate, it would be easy to assume
that Koreans wouldn’t have a pressing need for Internet access on
their mobile phones. However, Korean’s thirst for information makes
them high mobile Internet users, despite having broadband access at home
and most likely at work. An astounding 36.1 per cent of mobile phone
users have used the wireless Internet in the past six months (see
The average is higher for women (38.9 per cent) than men (34.1 per
|Figure 1: The
wireless Internet is alive and well in Korea
36.1 per cent of all mobile phone users
have used the wireless Internet at least once in the past six
months with mobile phones being the preferred access method
Wireless Internet access mode, by type will sum to
greater than 100 per cent as some subs may use multiple terminal
The wireless Internet is most popular among an interesting demographic
group, junior high school students. Students in general use the wireless
Internet more than the general public. Indeed, junior high school
students have grown up learning on the Internet and face a nearly
non-existent learning curve looking up information on a mobile device.
This has promising implications for the Korean information society. A
whole generation of Internet users will be accustomed to pulling
Internet information via their mobile phones. Section five will discuss
the phenomenon in more detail.
Koreans use the mobile Internet mostly to search for quick, but important
pieces of information. Examples include looking up information on a
movie theatre (address and movies playing) or finding a listing of
restaurants in a particular area by the type of food that they serve.
poring over the wireless Internet
Junior high school
students are the heaviest wireless Internet users in Korea with
students in general using it far more than the general public
for everything via mobile phone
mobile phone may make credit cards a thing of the past in Korea
When Koreans stop in for snacks at the
neighbourhood convenience store, they don’t need to bring any money
with them. All they need is their m-commerce enabled mobile phone. SK
Telecom’s Moneta service has more than 470,000 terminals around the
country that will accept payments via RFID chips embedded in mobile
phones. Users simply wave their phone in front of the Moneta receiver
placed next to the cash register (see image). The purchase is then
assigned to the mobile user.
can also use their mobile phones to pay for public transit. They simply
scan their mobile phone over the receiver and the money is debited
reason that Moneta has been so successful is Moneta terminals were first
installed in another branch of SK’s businesses, petrol stations.
Bandwidth killed the mobile video star
SKT’s service so popular it brought
traffic to a standstill
SKT learned quickly in 2003 about
how important pricing is to network health when it launched its
“JUNE” EV-DO video-on-demand service. JUNE subscribers paid a
monthly flat rate of US$ 17 (20'000 Won) for video data traffic and then
US$ 0.85 (1'000 Won) for each movie they watched. The users were
essentially paying a dollar for each movie and then a flat rate for the
data connections the movies floated over. Mobile subscribers couldn’t
resist being able to watch their favourite movies during their long
commutes and the service was an astounding success.
While strong consumer interest is
usually music to a mobile provider’s ears, SKT’s network began to
buckle under its own success. There were simply too many users who were
downloading movies and videos at US$ 0.85 each and too little bandwidth
in the spectrum to accommodate them.
SKT was forced to discontinue the
service under the existing pricing plan and move to a per packet charge
on the video data. The US$ 0.85 “rental charge” remained the same
but data charges jumped from US$ 17 per month unlimited to roughly US$
60 per movie. Because the change in policy was so swift, some users
didn’t realize the price of watching a movie had jumped astronomically
and received huge bills the following month.
SKT has not given up on the idea of flat-rate
pricing for movies. However, any new flat-rate pricing plans will most
likely have an upper limit similar to the broadband bit caps common in some
parts of the world.
Korea case study on “Shaping the Future Mobile Information Society”.
3. Messaging Mania in Norway
The current high level of SMS use in Norway and its
consistent growth since its introduction is a hallmark of Norway’s
mobile information society. The Norwegian mobile subscriber is on
average the most intensive user of SMS services (both person-to-person
or P2P SMS as well as Premium SMS) among the Nordic countries and one of
the most intensive in Europe. In 2002, each Norwegian mobile subscriber
sent an average of 661 SMS messages. This was double the average number
of messages sent by Norwegian mobile subscribers in 2000 (see Figure 1).
In terms of growth, the number of SMS messages sent
increased steadily during the three-year period from 1999 to 2002. From
2000 to 2001, SMS messages sent increased by 830 million while from 2001
to 2002, 470 million more messages were sent. The average price of an
SMS is less than NOK 0.70.
1: Growth in SMS traffic
Growth in SMS traffic, 1999 – 2002,
millions of SMS messages (left) and growth in average number of
SMS messages sent per user per annum, 1999 – 2002 (right)
The Norwegian Telecom Market 2002, NPT.
|Box 1: Types
of Premium SMS
There are essentially two
main types of Premium SMS: mobile originated (MO) and mobile
terminated (MT). In
the case of the former, the service is charged to the mobile
phone user who sends the message. In the case of the latter, the
service is charged to the mobile phone user receiving the
message. The type of technology deployed has a direct
consequence on the kind of premium services that can be
launched, For example, MO is ideal for offering interactive
services which involve users sending information such as TV
voting, Chat and Dating Services, Competitions, etc. while MT is
ideal for content delivery such as logos or ringtones and
subscription based services such as News Alerts, Horoscopes,
Source: Netsize - SMS Guide at http://www.netsize.co.uk/.
In Norway, the basic SMS text service has evolved
in recent years as a platform to deliver a whole host of different
services and to provide a degree of interactivity that is easily
accessible to the public. Premium SMS services were introduced in April
2000 and have since gained in popularity rapidly. Although premium SMS
services constitute less than five per cent of the total volume of SMS
messages sent in Norway, they represent around 20 to 30 per cent of
overall revenues from SMS services on average. Typical prices for
Premium SMS range from NOK 4 to NOK 30.
From the initial launch of Premium SMS services,
mobile operators in Norway have offered the full range of mobile
originated (MO) and mobile terminated (MT) Premium SMS services. By
installing the capability to offer MO and MT Premium services early,
Norwegian mobile operators were able to offer a wide range of Premium
SMS services to their subscribers far sooner than operators in most
other countries (see Box 3.4). For example, MT billing was only
introduced in Sweden more than a year later.
Factors influencing SMS
Although pioneered in the Nordic region in general,
Norway’s level of SMS use far surpasses that of its neighbours. Almost
four times as many SMS messages per capita are sent in Norway than in
Sweden while Denmark’s SMS traffic volume hovers at around two thirds
of that of Norway’s.
A number of factors, both commercial and social,
have been advanced to explain Norway’s high level of usage of SMS
based services, both P2P as well as Premium. In terms of the former,
initial take-up of SMS services was fuelled by a long introductory
period (around a year) where sending SMS messages was free of charge.
Furthermore, Norwegian mobile operators have continued to market SMS
services continuously, particularly though reduced pricing schemes and
advertisements aimed at the youth segment.
Mobile operators in Norway have also made a
conscious effort to price P2P SMS lower than the price of a one-minute
The pricing of SMS, however, does not appear to be a determining factor
in terms of SMS use. Despite mobile operators in Denmark charging
significantly less for sending SMS, it still has a lower volume of SMS
traffic per capita than Norway.
It is interesting to note that sending and
receiving P2P SMS messages appear to be perceived as more socially
acceptable than receiving voice calls on mobile phones when in the
presence of company. During meetings in particular, communicating via
SMS with external parties is regarded as less disruptive than taking a
In terms of Premium SMS, Norway’s high use of P2P
SMS enabled the easy adoption of Premium SMS when it was introduced.
Furthermore, the introduction of both MO and MT Premium SMS services
provided mobile users with a wide range of services from the very
beginning. Content for premium services was also developed and deployed
more easily due to the cooperation between Telenor Mobil and NetCom with
regard to pricing and technical interfaces.
Interestingly, mobile operators have also noted
that Premium SMS services generate their own marketing publicity through
constant exposure by the mass media, in particular through TV and Radio
shows. This exposure has also led to a greater familiarity with P2P SMS
among mobile phone users.
[i] Mobile operators maintain
that making a voice call is a more fulfilling experience than that
of sending an SMS. Nevertheless, in order to gain greater mobile
penetration (particularly in the youth segment) and to make
consumers more familiar with mobile phone usage, cheaper SMS
services are made available and attractive.
Norway case study on “Shaping the Future Mobile Information Society”.
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