MTN deal boosts online content

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Bongani Nkosi

MTN, one of Africa’s leading cellular networks, has partnered with an Indian software and services provider to boost digital content for its 103-million users worldwide.

The deal, that will see MTN enlisting the services of India-based firm IMImobile to manage the content for its clients’ cellphones, was announced on 2 October 2009.

IMImobile was a favourable choice as it’s linked to 350 content providers globally.

The two companies have teamed up to address the growing demand for content in emerging markets, according to MTN.

The partnership will help MTN provide popular content – such as local and international music, sports, games, news and other entertainment – through enhanced technology.

“We have found a partner in IMImobile that has the insight and expertise of the appropriate managed service business model and technology solution to continue to deliver premium content and services to our customers,” said Nozipho January-Bardill, MTN group corporate affairs executive.

The deal will also enable MTN launch new income-generating voice and data services.

Strategic partner of choice

IMImobile was selected from a group of major global telecom software and service providers because of its technology platforms and proven managed services business model, MTN said. The group is in direct competition to industry giants like Ericsson, Huawei and Nokia Siemens, which offer similar technology and services to operators.

“To be chosen by MTN as their strategic partner ahead of a strong list of competitors is testament to our unique service which is based on industry-leading technology platforms, content management expertise, managed services … combined with 24/7 technical support …” IMImobile founder and CEO Vishwanath Alluri said.

“IMImobile’s value proposition and technology solutions will enable MTN to reduce the time-to-market for new services, boost Average Revenue Per User and keep MTN at the forefront of innovative services,” January-Bardill said.

MTN introduced a number of products and services during the Fifa Confederations Cup in June 2009. “This content is currently being archived to allow football fans to relive the moment long after the games,” the operator said.

Content streaming of the 2010 Fifa World Cup is one of MTN’s largest projects, as it has exclusive global mobile content rights for Africa and the Middle East. The MTN-IMImobile partnership will be instrumental in delivering exclusive World Cup content on subscribers’ handsets, including soccer match news, fixtures, match results as well as team and group profiles, MTN said.

Through the partnership IMImobile will use its Service Delivery Platform, which will include its DaVinci Content Management System (CMS), to tailor content for local consumer preferences. An example of this would be providing material in French or Arabic.

IMImobile will deploy its full CMS across Botswana, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, South Africa, Swaziland, Uganda, Zambia, Benin, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic Conakry, Liberia, Afghanistan, Syria, Cyprus and Yemen.

“This is a major commercial milestone for IMImobile as we continue to build our offering to support leading operators worldwide,” said Alluri. “We are excited by the opportunity and are looking forward to helping MTN achieve its objectives of creating substantial additional revenue streams.”

MTN is a multinational group that was founded in South Africa in 1994. It is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, Africa’s largest stock exchange, and operates in 21 countries across the world.

IMImobile positions itself as a “leading provider of converged mobile and online technology platforms and content services to mobile operators and media companies around the world”. It lists leading operators and media companies such as Vodafone, Virgin Mobile, Google, Reuters, Airtel and Yahoo! as some of its customers. It has operations in 40 countries and offices in Asia, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.