Monday, 18 December 2017

Telenor, Opera talk up time-based Internet access

By Nick Wood, Total Telecom
Thursday 05 March 15

Norwegian incumbent working with browser maker to experiment with sponsored data services in Asia.

Telenor and Opera extolled the virtues of transaction-based app and Web access this week, which they argue provides new commercial opportunities for online service providers and operators, and could also help the latter to manage network traffic. "The whole industry is going towards app-based pricing models in prepaid markets," claimed Rolv-Erik Spilling…

Telenor and Opera extolled the virtues of transaction-based app and Web access this week, which they argue provides new commercial opportunities for online service providers and operators, and could also help the latter to manage network traffic.

"The whole industry is going towards app-based pricing models in prepaid markets," claimed Rolv-Erik Spilling, CEO of Telenor Digital, which works with the Norwegian incumbent's various operating units to identify and capitalise on emerging digital services.

Empowering mobile customers with the choice of when to pay and what to pay for is particularly appealing in emerging Asian markets where users are particularly price sensitive, he said.

Telenor has operations in six markets there – Bangladesh, India, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan and Thailand. In Q4 2014, 49% of its group revenue was generated in Asia.

Browser maker Opera is a long-time partner of Telenor's, which uses its compression technology to lower the volume of data consumed by everyday Web use, which in turn lowers the costs to customers.

In recent years, Telenor has stepped up its effort to lower the barriers to mobile Internet adoption, by deploying Opera's Web Pass solution, which integrates with Telenor's billing systems enabling it to offer time-and-content-based Web access. Last year, Opera rolled out Sponsored Web Pass, which gives advertisers the option to sponsor these Web passes, making them free to end users but still generating data revenue for the telco.

"The Internet is of real value" in developing Asian markets, said Lars Boilesen, CEO of Opera. "Offering it for free creates a lot of excitement."

So far, "20 operators have sold 50 million Web Passes," he said.

Increased usage leads to increased traffic, with some Websites attributing spikes of up to 250% to content-specific Web passes, Spilling said.

Time-based data tariffs also have the potential to help operators manage traffic on their networks.

For instance, Spilling said that a telco could push out a free Internet offer that spans a time of day when the network is normally less busy.

"You can shift the [traffic] peak," he said.

In late February, Telenor announced it will be the first telco to trial Opera's latest solution, App Pass, which takes the same approach as Web pass but applies it to apps as opposed to the Web.

Digi in Malaysia will be the first Telenor business to try it out.

App Pass is part of Opera's Opera Max client, an Android app that enables a subscriber to monitor and control the data consumption of their various applications. Hence it is more suited to smartphone markets like Malaysia rather than feature phone markets.

Nonetheless, "there is very strong interest [in App Pass] from the 20 operators currently offering Web Pass," said Boilesen. "There is a realistic chance they'll take App Pass."
 

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