18 November 2011

Nokia and Sprint to Keynote MEF Americas 2011

Exciting news from MEF Americas 2011, Nokia and Sprint have been announced as keynotes for MEF Americas 2011: Mobile Content and Commerce in Miami!

Nokia is to kick things off on day 1 with a keynote examining the trend towards the creation of ‘Hyper Local App Economies’, with a focus on the shift from a global ecosystem model to one where millions of people make money by selling and exchanging apps and content at a deeply local level. The keynote will explore new distribution models that give everybody the opportunity to create a distribution business, and the emergent app economies being observed. The keynote will be delivered by Nokia's Marco Argenti, SVP Developer & Marketplace.

Meanwhile top billing for day 2 goes to Sprint - John Carney, SVP of Consumer Marketing will be exploring the challenges and opportunities surrounding m-commerce and alternative financial services for the under-banked. The unbanked, under served segment of the population is extremely large and growing and while the technology and ecosystems largely exist to take advantage of this opportunity, the carriers can’t do it alone. The keynote is set to educate attendees about this market, where the near and longer term opportunities exist, and what needs to happen to get results.

The Keynotes top an extensive list of panel sessions and speakers, checkout the website for the full lineup. The essential gathering for thought leaders & deal makers from across North & Latin America’s mobile content and commerce ecosystems is now less than two weeks away - time to start packing!

10 November 2011

Indonesian Value Added Services Market in Crisis - MEF takes action

Colin Miles moderates a panel at Next Billion event in Jakarta

MEF is calling for its members affected by the recent regulatory upheaval in Indonesia to get in touch to collaborate on a project to clarify the compliance process for value added services (VAS) following a near complete shutdown of the industry in the region. If your business has been affected,  contact MEF to contribute to crucial activity underway to remedy the situation there, and help shape the future of the VAS market in the region.

As of midnight, October 18 2011, all VAS subscription billing services were switched off on the direction of the Indonesian Ministry of Telecoms. This Ministerial direction was driven by widespread concern about consumer harm following media portrayals of some services as "credit theft", enforced via their Regulatory Associations (primarily BRTI) and carried out by the Association of Mobile Network Operators (ASTI). A number of contributing factors had recently caused the number of complaints about such services to rise dramatically including instances of non-compliance in the promotion and content of some services and the relative ease and difficulty in unsubscribing from certain services, compounded by widespread public misunderstanding and misinformation about such services and a failure by some consumers to read t's&c's before accessing a service.

In line with the Ministerial direction, all consumers were immediately unsubscribed from services by Indonesia’s 11 Mobile Network Operators and interim rules have been put in place to control the re-subscription of customers via double-opt-in, and relating to the promotion of existing and new services. The outcome of this direction has had massive impact on the entire Indonesian VAS industry, from the Mobile Network Operators down through the value chain, effectively resetting the Indonesian VAS market to zero.

While MEF supports the Indonesian Ministry and Regulator’s primary objective to address and curtail consumer harm, there is now an essential need to work quickly, decisively and collaboratively to identify the exact cause of the recent consumer harm, eliminate bad practice and ensure that rogue activity cannot return to the market. Furthermore, all legitimate services need to be quickly reinstated and clear industry-wide guidance around service monitoring, auditing and regulatory enforcement need to be established to safeguard the future of the Indonesian VAS industry.

MEF’s global expertise in the area of regulation and its position as the global trade body for the mobile content and commerce industry representing the entire value chain, makes it ideally placed to effectively support collaboration and discussion between BRTI and the industry to actively address and resolve the current problems and work towards creating a viable framework for the delivery of compliant services.

Earlier this month, Miranda Roberts, MEF’s Policy and Initiatives Manager, travelled to Jakarta to attend The Next Billion Event and meet with MEF members affected by the situation. While there, the BRTI Commissioner invited Miranda to attend a meeting to discuss the problems, along with  MEF Asia Chairman and EVP & Co-Founder of i-POP, Colin Miles, in what proved to be a useful first step in knowledge sharing.

Following its meeting with BRTI, MEF has been invited to contribute to the compliance process and is now seeking to engage with members and wider industry to create collaborative industry working groups and review and clarify rules for the industry. The result of this activity will be the production of an Industry Best Practice Framework of Standards, covering the promotion of services, processes for sign-up, opting-in, subscribing, unsubscribing, billing and customer service, all in conjunction with the regulator.

To get involved in this crucial project, contact Miranda or MEF Asia General Manager Linda Ruck directly. Keep checking the MEF website for further updates.

01 November 2011

Join the MEF AGMs and Board Elections for the Americas in Miami

MEF Americas 2011: Mobile Content & Commerce, to be held in Miami at the end of the month isn't all about exciting keynotes and fantastic speakers. It's also not just about relaxing in the splendour of the luxurious Fontainebleu resort while waiting for the next fantastic keynote to begin. No before all that, before the essential gathering has even kicked off properly, another event of huge importance occurs, the MEF LatAm AGM & Elections. The North America AGM & Elections are held the following evening, both represent a significant opportunity for MEF members.

As you will know, MEF plays an essential leadership role in creating a sustainable environment for, and accelerating the uptake of mobile content & commerce. Today, with the rapidly changing landscape and scope of the mobile environment, there has never been a better time to add your voice to the shaping of the industry by standing for a position on one of these prestigious boards. This year there are 12 open seats on the MEF LatAm board, and 5 open seats on the North American Board.

All MEF members are welcome to attend both AGMs. Full MEF members may vote and stand as a candidate for these prestigious boards and create thought leadership, share knowledge and address the critical issues facing the mobile commerce and content industry.

About MEF LatAm

In the two years since its launch, MEF’s LatAm chapter has become a leading voice for the mobile content and commerce industry in the region. In 2010, a MEF initiative led to the creation of a Unified Code of Conduct for mobile content subscription services and advertising in Brazil which has been endorsed by all four of the major network carriers and the regulator Anatel. In 2011, MEF is again taking the lead in producing a set of guidelines to define the standards for consistent application of the Code and its sanctions. MEF LatAm is also promoting the M-Commerce market in the region with the recent launch our M-Commerce Initiative. With a focus on micro-payments and the virtual goods market, MEF LatAm is at the forefront of educating network carriers, games publishers and social networks on the potential of mobile payments.

The MEF LatAm AGM & Elections take place Monday, November 28th at 5pm at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Please contact Priscila Grison for more information on how run for the board. To register your attendance, please click HERE.

About MEF North America

MEF North America has been at the forefront of the mobile entertainment market since its launch in 2002, with strong ties to its members across the region and an established track record of shaping the industry with groundbreaking initiatives. With MEF’s expanded mission to represent the global community for mobile commerce this trend is set to continue in 2012 and beyond with our M-Commerce Initiative, working with ASC X9 to define industry standards for the privacy and security of mobile transactions, recently highlighted in our Global Consumer Survey as the greatest barrier to more widespread adoption of m-commerce. MEF North America is firmly in the driving seat in establishing the consumer and merchant confidence necessary for the mobile platform to become the premier device to enable commerce across North America and Canada.

The MEF North Americas AGM & Elections take place Tuesday, November 29th at 5pm at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. Please contact Georgia Aarons for further information on how to run for the board. To register your attendance, please click HERE.