Archives For sms promotions

Advances in technology will always see the morphing of previously offline services to the mobile channel due to its obvious ubiquity. Every industry has seen this shift, but with requisite structures done right to ensure service longevity and adherence to standards. The gaming sector however, seems to have been left behind and playing catch up with the result being; in my opinion a suppression of an industry that could actually deliver the much needed financial support for many social programs run by government and other well meaning Kenyans. The Betting Control and Licensing Board governs the authorization of lotteries and prize competition as well as eradication of illegal gambling activities in Kenya. It was established through an Act of Parliament (Chapter 131 Laws of Kenya of 1966). Here is how I would empower the board to meet its mandate using technology especially for mobile and online gaming. Continue Reading…

Mobile strategy for a business is not one of those things that you can cover extensively in one post, but I figured I could at least give you a primer on some of the things that you will need to think through when creating it.

With everyone jumping onto the mobile apps bandwagon, the decision makers will be forgiven for being clueless about where to begin or even what would provide best fit for their operations given that agencies are also not doing a good job of education.

Many are just getting to realize the impact of web and the mobile story may be a bit too heavy to digest. As the year comes to a close and we begin to strategize for the coming year for our business operations and looking at how to connect in more meaningful ways with our consumers, mobile needs to form a key component of digital strategy.

In the same way that the web ecosystem evolved, you may want to take baby steps to discover what mix works best for you as well as ease into the whole environment. This process includes looking to see if mobile is necessary in your customer experience and what assets are available for mobile consumption – think product information, alerts etc.

Perhaps the mobile strategy will be inward facing, looking to improve certain parts of your internal business. Strategy goes deeper than application and, mobisite deployments and has to link back to deliverables that impact your bottom-line in one way or another. Continue Reading…

It is always interesting to hear discussions around emerging technologies or industries that seem to capture the minds of everyone; from your barber to the executive at a FMCG company. More often than not, if the discussion is based on mobile technology, a lot of assumptions are made as to who plays what role and where the opportunity lies.

At the very top of the mobile ecosystem is the regulator CCK – Communications Commission of Kenya who are in charge of issuing licenses to mobile network operators, premium rate service providers – PRSP’s and content providers. The different tiers of licensing attract varied fees with the current cost of the PRSP and content provider license standing at Ksh 100,000, on top of an application fee of Ksh.10, 000. The license fee is annual and from year two, it  is based on a percentage of revenue generated by your firm with the lower limit of Ksh.100,000. Continue Reading…

The fact that mobile is big in Africa is undeniable with more people seeking to understand how to  derive maximum value from this channel. What most seek to know is how to generate revenue from the various services that they can offer. To generate revenue, one must have the ability to bill for services and there are various ways of doing this.

Shortcodes are 3-4 digit numbers that are availed by Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) to Premium Rate Service Providers (PRSP’s) for purposes of setting up services.  At the time of setup, shortcodes are assigned billing bands which range from normal sms rates to premium rates of up to 100 shillings. Shortcodes don’t offer flexible billing and you must choose the best fit for your service. Shortcodes attract a monthly rental fee from the operators and may attract a premium one-off fee if the code is considered “golden”, such as an easy to remember 5544 for example.

Mobile operators usually reserve the use of 3 digit short-codes for network centric services. Continue Reading…

Many times we hear of scammers…mostly from Kamiti minting some good dosh using fictitious promotions or by disabling your call and text functions before cleaning out your Mpesa.  Well, I got one such call…could smell the stinker from a mile and I managed to engage this fella for abit before he realized that it wasn’t going down the way he wanted it to, and promptly went mteja after a while.

Thing is, they were calling on my Yu line saying that I have won some 7o,000 bob in free bonus and I can get it via Mpesa :-) In clip two, notice how he queries how much I will have in my Mpesa account after he send me my bonus #socialengineering #Pretexting

Continue Reading…

Maybe I am not the target consumer but having done my fair share of rounds at BCLB, I do know a thing or two about what it takes to get that receipt…aka your license. I chanced on an advert in the Daily Nation on Friday May 28 that drew my attention but it seems for all the wrong reasons. Here’s why I think something is amiss with this particular promotion. Continue Reading…

As the recent earthquake in Haiti continues to claim casualties, the outpouring of relief funded by contributions made from the mobile phone comes into the spotlight. As of the 18th of January 2010, the Red Cross and other relief organizations managed to raised more than $20 million (Ksh 1.5 billion) through text message donations, which is about 10 percent of the $210 million (Ksh 15 billion)total raised.

The user experience was simple with people sending the word “HAITI” to the number 90999. This text had a charge of USD 10 (Ksh750) and was added to a users phone bill. Am guessing here that most guys are on postpaid lines in the US. Locally i have not seen an implementation of a service on the Ksh 100 billing band and above.

Of interest is that it seemed like most people were engaging this new medium of fund-raising for the first time.Mobile Accord who run the mGive initiative for the Red Cross say that this is the biggest response they have seen since 2008when they began offering their services.

Closer home, while the numbers may not match and while the causes don’t get Michelle Obama type support to rally them, the numbers are non the less impressive…on a local scale. Continue Reading…

Premium Rate services, whether on sms or IVR have been seen by many as money spinners and that has led to two things;

  1. entrepreneurs clamoring to get that coveted PRSP (premium rate service provider license) from the CCK
  2. people thinking up …sometimes weird, sometimes innovative promo concepts to make money

I wont go deeper into my thoughts on the two points but rather focus on the behind the scenes body that is charged with regulating promotions, services and anything that has gambling or “bahati na sibu” connotations in the country, the Betting Control and Licensing Board.

Most sms promotions in the Kenyan market today have a “gambling” aspect whether it Spot the Ball and Win, Vote and Win, Text and Win etc. Therefore before you go live with your service you must ensure that it is within the law.

Continue Reading…