What’s happening here is that mobile internet growth rates are way higher in countries where there isn’t a good fixed line network infrastructure. Countries like India, South Africa, Pakistan, Indonesia and Malaysia fall into this category.
India, with a population of just over 1.1 billion and lack of an established fixed phone line network, relies on mobile phones to stay in touch.
However, high activity levels don’t necessarily mean lots of financial transactions. There are a number of reasons for this:
They’re just surfing the web – A higher proportion of people in these countries have no intention of buying any digital content through their phone, they are simply using their phone to get onto the web. Africa, in particular Nigeria, dominates international mobile phone access to the BBC’s news website.
Low disposable income – With the exclusion of the US and UK, the countries in the Bango Top 10 feature those with some of the lowest per capital incomes in the world. It doesn’t mean they won’t be buying, it’s just that content needs to be priced low for that market. In South Africa, for example, a game is 20 RAND (just under $2 when I did the currency conversion just now) but the same game will be priced at $4.99 for US consumers.
Lack of on bill payment – Enabling on bill payment is often difficult in these countries for one reason or another. Low payout rates make it uneconomical for content providers to market to consumers in these countries. Or, the need for operator approvals of all content to be sold, as in India, means its an onerous task to enable on bill payment – especially as there are over 10 operators covering this huge country.
From what we see of our customers, South Africa is the exception to the rule – there are lots of people surfing the moble web from a country with low fixed line infrastructure and low disposable income but you can create a great content business here.
Have you had any successes selling your digital content around the world? Do tell us. Why not read some of the experiences of Bango’s mobile billing customers.