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NEWS UPDATES 12 December 2009

Indonesia upbeat over mobile marketing prospects

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Indonesia will see a boom in mobile marketing starting next year, as the tight competition in the cellular phone business forces providers to offer new services that are as creative as possible, the Jakarta Post quoted an industry association as saying.

Cellular Phone Provider Association (ATSI) chairman Sarwoto Atmosutarno said Thursday that the emergence of mobile marketing, as one of the newest mobile features, was a consequence of the tight  competition among the 11 cellular providers operating in the country.

“There are currently 178 million registered cellular users in the country. That is a big market for marketers, isn’t it?” Sarwoto told the audience at the 2010 annual Markplus Conference.

Studies have predicted that the cellular phone industry would grow by about 10 to 12 percent next year, “The studies also show that, in Jakarta, the SIM card ownership rate is currently about 1.2, meaning that many  Jakartans own more than one cellular phone,” he added.

This exceptional market should convince marketers to shift their marketing methods to mobile marketing, Sarwoto said.

Some major cellular players like Indosat and Bakrie Telecom have begun providing mobile marketing services. Indosat’s mobile marketing feature has just been launched under the brand “i-klan”. The feature is based on inserting advertising content to cellular users using SMS, where users could receive additional credits for a certain number of received ads by SMS.

Bakrie’s Esia frequently sends advertising content to users via SMS and calls. It is no longer exceptional that Esia users would  get  phone calls from machine-operated voices.

A study shows that mobile marketing sales currently reached $480 million in the Asia Pacific region, about 2 percent of total sales.

In the future, mobile marketing could reach cellular users through various ways including video calls, or by pushing email, or other internet-related features, said Sarwoto, who is also the director of Telkomsel, the cellular business subsidiary of the country largest telecom firm PT Telekomunikasi Indonesia.

According to Sarwoto the tight  competition has resulted in Indonesia benefiting from the cheapest cellular tariffs in the world.

As tariffs keep decreasing, he said, cellular businesses must no longer rely on basic services, SMS and phone calls but creatively find other sources of income from mobile marketing.

Sarwoto predicted that next year’s investment in the telecommunication industry would reach about the same as this year, which was $2.2 billion.

The Association of Indonesian Retailers (Aprindo) chairman, Roy N. Mandey, said that mobile marketing would also help the retail sector to increase its sales.

“Almost 10 percent of retail customers today use online business methods, including via mobile gadgets,” he told Thursday’s conference.


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