My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Ding says Jamaicans love WhatsApp as FLOW and Digicel plot GSMA's Universal Profile


Friday, January 27, 2017

Ding says Jamaicans love WhatsApp as FLOW and Digicel plot GSMA's Universal Profile

What the most popular Mobile Social Media app in Jamaica?

According to a survey by Ding, a company that sells calling credit online, it's WhatsApp as reported in the article “Whatsapp Most Popular Social Media App Among Jamaican Diaspora”, Published Friday January 6, 2017 by Syranno Baines, The Jamaica Gleaner.

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With the largest top-up network supported by 400 operators in 130 countries which translates to four billion phones, their survey is golden. According to their survey of Jamaicans residing overseas conducted in December 2016:

1.      95% owned a mobile smart devices
2.      73% of the owners of mobile smart devices used their device as their main medium for Internet access
3.      72% of the owners of mobile smart devices cannot live without their devices

Of the overall survey, the sign of smart phone attachment is troubling:

1.      62% spent more than five (5) hours daily on their mobile devices
2.      94% sleep with their smartphones turned on
3.      42% called their husbands and wives to relay positive news
4.      82% used their smartphones for shopping

But it was the Mobile Social Media usage among Jamaicans living overseas that was really no surprise:

1.      60% use Whatsapp for IM (Instant Messaging)
2.      40% used Facebook for IM (Instant Messaging)
3.      50% used Instagram for IM (Instant Messaging)

The statistics for the IM usage may seem strange but it’s really simple to explain; they represent frequency of usage, as many really use all of them, just that they use WhatsApp a whole lot more.

Telecom Providers like WhatsApp - Stealing Data Credit but increasing Data usage

Still, like Brand & Communications Manager for Ding Leslie Prendergast, I’m surprised so many people spend so much time on their smartphones, quote: “Mobile phones are a vital resource for people living abroad, and we wanted to find out how the Jamaican Diaspora is using theirs to keep in touch. It was interesting to find out that 62 per cent of respondents spend more than five hours daily on their phones. Family and friends are such a massive part of Jamaican culture, and we are delighted to play a role in helping them to connect with their loved ones”.

Despite OTT (Over the Top) and VoIP Applications stealing their International and local calling Revenue, WhatsApp has resulted in an overall increase in data usage, according to Caribbean president for Cable and Wireless Communications, Garry Sinclair, quote: "Yes, it has, in fact, resulted in an increase in the use of data and a global reduction in voice calls. This is not unique to Jamaica. This is a global trend emanating from these types of Over The Top (OTT) services”.

Digicel, for their part, likes the fact that increased usage of WhatsApp means that more revenue is coming from the purchase of credit via Ding and other Electronic top-up platforms, quote: “We are encouraged by increasing customer preference for electronic top-up via local and overseas partners like Ding. This enhances our ability to expand top-up sales while making it more convenient for customers to activate data plans on receiving credit”.

Telecom Providers are slowly beginning to realize that they cannot have their cake and eat it too. Then again, once GSMA's Universal Profile and MaaP for Advanced Communications become official as explained in my blog article entitled “GSMA's Universal Profile and MaaP for Advanced Communications is embedded IM by Q2 2017”, they may finally be able to launch their own IM platforms.

Potentially they can displace the OTT and VoIP operators once and for all as pointed out in my blog article entitled “How Digicel and FLOW Jamaica Blocking all VoIP Services can monetize Paid VoIP Services”.......if they are popular enough and have enough perks that can beat the likes of Facebook owned WhatsApp!

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