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Social media platforms and telecom service providers in a win-win partnership

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logos-twitterIt’s a marriage that is mutually beneficial to both partners and has tremendous growth potential. In a burgeoning digital and mobile centric market, Telecom players and social media platforms have come together to benefit the user, expecting the partnership to be the next big revenue driver. Research shows that social media platforms, online advertising and increasing Internet access speed would be the key revenue generators for the telecom sector and sure enough, the Indian Telecom Sector has been seen engaging with the leading social media platforms.

Vodafone India has tied up with Twitter recently and the association has resulted in offering free Twitter access to its prepaid and postpaid users in the country. The service is available from July 29 till November 1, 2013. Vodafone’s android users will enjoy a free access to official Twitter applications as well as Twitter’s mobile site (m.twitter.com).

For Twitter India, this is not the first time when they have been involved in such an association with a telecom company. Earlier this year, Twitter India tied up with Reliance Communications allowing the Reliance GSM prepaid users in the country to get a free Twitter access.

Airtel was the first in the country to directly associate with social media when it partnered with Facebook to offer its users free access to Facebook for two months. Later they joined hands with Google to launch ‘free zone’ allowing users to use various Google services like Google plus and Gmail for free. However, the first page which was available to the users featured advertisements. At the same time, Airtel’s data segment’s revenue generation rose up to 6.5 per cent from 5.7 per cent in Q4 FY13.

During the launch of ‘Freezone’, Rajan Anandan, VP and Managing Director, Google India said, “The mobile Internet user base is growing really fast in India. Working with Airtel on this exciting trial means that we can offer Internet services at no cost to anyone with a phone. This gives people easier access to information in a way that benefits everyone, whether it’s an individual or a small business that wants to reach more people on the web. We hope this initiative will encourage more Indians to experience the value of the Internet and gain from it.”

On being asked about the objectives of Vodafone behind this association with Twitter, Vivek Mathur, Chief Commercial Officer, Vodafone India said, “Vodafone India has always been at the forefront of providing innovative and user friendly mobile internet experience for its customers in India. Our partnership with Twitter and this offering is yet another step in our ongoing endeavour to make mobile internet more fun, smart, engaging and easy.”

Twitter India’s Market Director, Rishi Jaitly, said, “As a real-time information network full of links, media, and content, our platform offers the mobile ecosystem novel ways to introduce their subscribers to all that Internet has to offer. We are pleased to partner with Vodafone India to offer its subscribers a unique opportunity to use Twitter to follow the people and organizations they care about. Whether it’s hearing the latest news, connecting with cricket stars in real time, or laughing at the day’s best jokes, Twitter brings Indians together and closer to our interests.”

This attempt, however modest it may sound is far from just being a step to promote data usage. Mobile based data market is still in an evolution stage and it will take another two to three years before it could overtake the voice services offered by telecom service providers. As of now, social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are reaching out to the Indian mobile user base only to lure the telecom brands and the end users, and using the association as a marketing tool.

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