The Mobile Internet Asia project hit the ground running this spring. Telenor is on its way to bringing the Web to the masses on both feature phones and smartphones.
Today Asia is experiencing the world’s most rapid growth when it comes to mobile Internet usage. In the past two years alone, mobile Web traffic has tripled on the continent, making Asia the source of 18 percent of the world’s mobile Web browsing (source: Statcounter, Pingdom). In order to play a central role in capturing a share of this growth, Telenor Digital Services kicked off the Mobile Internet Asia (MIA) project in April this year.
A mobile Internet leader in Asia
“Telenor Group and its Business Units have, for several years now, focused on the importance of mobile Internet in Asia, and we have run pilot projects in this area to find the best solutions that meet the needs of our customers,” says Sissel Henriette Larsen, Vice President and Head of Services, Telenor Asia. “By starting the MIA project now, we are making a formal move to become leaders in mobile Internet in Asia. We want to tap into this explosive growth and the best Internet experience to customers.”
The MIA project, under the Telenor Digital Services umbrella, includes two main focus areas: “Build the Base” and “Smartphone”. Each focus area shares the goal of establishing Telenor as a leader in providing mobile Internet. However, the two work streams differ in terms of who is targeted and how.
Accelerating smartphone growth in Asia
The Smartphone work stream within in MIA project is newly headed by Mark (Amarit) Sukhavanij, effective July 1, 2012. Mark was previously Head of Market Division for dtac.
Mark believes that customers in Asia are looking for a total smartphone experience. That means that they expect a good experience as soon as they enter the retail store. They expect the right price plans for their mobile browsing needs. And they want applications for their device that are simple to use and simultaneously enhance their experience.
“Telenor is well-positioned to meet the needs of smartphone customers in Asia,” says Mark. “For many in Asia, the mobile phone is their only gateway to the Web. Once they become Internet users, it is our job to enable the transition to a smartphone for an even richer Web experience.”
Build the base
In tandem with the smartphone work stream is the focus on building a base of mobile Internet customers in Telenor’s Asian markets. This work stream targets the customers who are new or unfamiliar with the Internet. In order to bring the Internet to the millions of feature phones spanning Asia, Telenor has partnered with Opera Software to distribute the Opera Mini mobile browser.
“Our ambition is to distribute Internet to the masses, and Opera Mini serves as one of the tools that can help us make this happen,” says Even Reitan, project manager for the Build a base work stream. “Our proposition to Asian customers is centered on our partnerships with Opera Mini and Facebook. Facebook is often the number one reason that people want to get online with their phones, and Opera Mini helps make it happen in an easy and affordable way.”
Telenor targets the entire spectrum
As the numbers indicate, the long predicted mobile Internet explosion in Asia has begun, and Telenor sees the importance of positioning itself as a leader from the outset, according to Sissel Henriette Larsen. She explains, “This is why we want to offer solutions that enable the Asian mass market to easily access the mobile Internet, whether it’s on their 10-year-old feature phones or their brand new smartphones. Telenor has the best solution for them.”