Digicel has decided that it’s worth their time to block mobile ads. But are they using their mobile monopoly unfairly to trample on Net Neutrality rules? ECTEL (St Lucia-based Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority) seems to think so.
Earlier in November 2015, they pointed out to Digicel in a Letter to the company that their actions violate Net Neutrality rules stating that quote: “service providers should treat all data on the Internet the same, not intercepting, interrupting, blocking, degrading or discriminating”.
So while s. Lucia and Regional government ponder this problem, especially as Digicel provides much needed revenue for their countries via Telecoms cess, the other question still remains; how do Digicel blocking Google ads benefit their finnacially?
Digicel Group Chairman Denis O’Brien claims that these Google ads robs the customer of valuable megabytes from their data plan as pointed out in my article Why Digicel blocking Google ads may be the rise of Digicel App World. But that’s just marketing sentiment done to win over customer and paint Digicel as a champion of the people!
But does Digicel really have the customer’s interest at heart? Or do they have Machiavellian ambitions in mind as it relates to the US$69 billion a year Mobile Advertising and Marketing Industry that is Google’s honey pot?
Digicel’s App Store ambitions – Digicel Rising Star for App Designers Needed to fill App Store
Based on that article, I predicted that Digicel may be trying to upgrade their Digicel App World to an App Store replacement from Google Play Store on their DL series of smartphones. This may be possibly via supporting Developers and Designers of Apps to fill the store to brimming and using their Apps to sell In-App advertising space.
But I may be thinking a little too complicated.
After all, you need skilled game and productivity App Developers and Designer who can make Apps of the same quality as those already being offered some for free other paid, on the Google Play Store. Their apps would have to be region specific, relating to people from the Caribbean and be downloaded by thousands of Caribbean nationals!
Finding that kind of programming Talent in the Caribbean is not hard and would take time to develop to the point of being able to make such quality Apps. Jump-starting the program with professional App designing firms would potentially be the way to go, but they’d want to sell Apps, not make free ones.
But it would take some time for many Jamaican to accept the idea for using a Jamaican made App over one that’s perceived as being better made from Developers from countries outside of Jamaica. Digicel would probably have to have a competition of sort to discover star App Developers, a Digicel Rising Star of sorts for Developer talent.
But who really has time to watch Developers make great Apps to fill a threadbare App store over the next ten years? Surely there must be an easier way.
Digicel More and Text Message Advertising – Annoying Advertising that Jamaican ignore
Turn out Digicel has already been offering the use of their network to advertise to subscribers – via SMs (short messaging Service) or text messaging!
Digicel already has an advertising arm called Digicel More that is already been providing marketers for such customers as JPS Co (Jamaica Public Service Company) Red Stripe and even the NHT (National Housing Trust) with a means by which they can market their products.
Instead of using Apps, they simply allow their clients to send targeted SMS to their potential clients, be they to market a new product, push a new promotion for their services or remind them to pay their bills on time.
Because Digicel is in full control of their GSM (Global System Mobile) Network, they can also offer geo-location based targeted ads, with text messages sent specifically to persons within a particular area. This geo-location service is not very precise though; they can only send to subscribers based on which tower they’re getting signal from and even then they can’t pin down precise location of users of their phones, only general areas.
Still with some 2 million subscriber or 75% of the Jamaican mobile market, SMS marketing is still an effective marketing tool. Digicel, however, may be their own worst enemy.
Many Jamaicans are experiencing text messaging fatigue from being bombarded with Text messaging adverts and for listening to voicemail, preferring to use WhatsApp to send Voice notes over Wi-Fi, as they’ve blocked WhatsApp (Deer, 2015, November 9) on their Network.
SMS marketing is more of an annoyance, with many Jamaican ignoring text messages…..especially as most of the text messages are from Digicel and not for Digicel’s clients, many of which I rarely receive anyway.
Enter Digicel’s growing smartphone subscriber base!
Digicel’s growing smartphone subscriber base – Why an expanded Digicel App World for Ads makes sense
Digicel More may have to switch tactics from SMS marketing to in-App Advertising, preferably with their own Apps in their own Digicel App world store.
45% of the subscriber bases possess a smartphone. With the numbers expected to grow and Digicel set to roll out the DL810, DL910 and DL1000 come this December 2015 as predicted in Digicel DL910 revealed in Merry Millions Promotion, expect more Jamaicans to be hooked on Apps.
So I was right after all, it seems!
Digicel More may have to do…. well, more, actually…. to encourage local Jamaican Developers to make more Apps and partner with them to provide advertising. A competition would surely help. Advertising and marketing partnerships with winning Developers to push ads for Digicel’s clients to customers that download their Apps from the Digicel App World Store would make the deal even sweeter!
Not only are users of Smartphone a more receptive audience form advertising than someone receiving text messages, but they’ll probably object less to using a Jamaican App with local ads than ads from Google that are not relevant to them.
After all, what better way to excite local App Developers than a slice of that US$69 billion a year Mobile Advertising and Marketing Industry?
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