Each week the MEF team curates mobile stories from around the world. Essential news, the latest market insight & data nuggets, the Global News Round-up offers an instant international mobile content and commerce snapshot.
Global News Stories
Another billion-user milestone for Facebook: The company now has over 1 billion messaging users, after today announcing that it has passed 500 million monthly active users for Messenger, on top of the 600 million active users that Facebook-owned WhatsApp now has. In Facebook’s last earnings presentation, CEO Mark Zuckerberg noted that “products don’t really get that interesting to turn into businesses until they have about a 1 billion people using them.” Looks like messaging may have just gotten interesting.
Music streaming service Spotify now boasts 12.5m paying subscribers, and 50m users overall, according to new figures revealed by CEO Daniel Ek.
The figures come as part of a response by Ek to pop superstar Taylor Swift removing her music from the service which detailed the ways in which Spotify supports musicians and the music industry in general.
An Accenture survey of 4,000 consumers in the US and Canada says four in ten have made a mobile purchase in store. Thats up from 16 per cent two years ago. It believes that by 2020, credit card usage will start to decline after more than five decades. The numbers seem pretty incredible to me. Four in ten? Just recently Starbucks claimed it had around 90 per cent of all in-store mobile payments. Can four in ten US punters really be using the Starbucks app?
The Isle of Man, a Celtic island nestled in the Irish Sea, might be the first place in the world to establish a 5G phone network. The island, home to 81,000 people, plans to start testing the next-generation mobile technology in 2016, International Business Times reports. The self-governing British Crown dependency is the ideal place to lead a 5G charge for many reasons. The island already has a good telecoms infrastructure in place and the network would be further supported by next year’s opening of the International Centre for Technology, a university backed by the Manx Educational Foundation (MEF), HP, and Huawei.
Uber has been ramping up its presence in India in recent times, and today the increasingly ubiquitous taxi service announced that it’s now allowing local Uber users pay for rides with their debit card or net banking, as well as their credit card. This shift, it seems, is a direct response to new guidelines announced back in August, after the country’s reserve bank (RBI) stipulated that e-transactions must be must be done through a bank located within India, rather than routed straight through international payment conduits.
Qualcomm Wireless Reach and The George Institute are collaborating to set up a center for mHealth innovation in China to satisfy a government goal to improve access to healthcare in the country. The center will be located at The George Institute for Global Health at Peking University Health Science Center and will be funded by Qualcomm Wireless Reach.
Mobile healthcare app developers are way behind the eight ball in delivering on the enormous promise of mHealth tech and must stop creating “pet rock” software and devices that don’t help patients or providers, writes consumer J.C. Herz in a Wired column. Today’s wearables, Herz writes, aren’t being developed to help the chronically ill, elderly or the poor, all of whom would benefit most from mHealth innovations. The reasons why that is are many: fear of regulatory oversight, intimidation of bureaucracy, and lack of ambition to delve into clinical trial efforts. In addition, the mHealth developer doesn’t want to tackle the critical issues of security and data privacy, she said.
New research conducted in South Africa and Nigeria by French research firm Ifop reveals that 80% of people feel annoyed when receiving unsolicited marketing messages on their mobile phones. The same proportion, the research has revealed, could however be won back by operators and brands if they implement best practices to improve customer engagement.
Working on behalf of Gemalto, Ifop conducted face-to-face interviews with 800 adult (18 years of age and older) mobile phone owners in Nigeria and South Africa. The goal of the research was to understand consumer thinking regarding mobile marketing and to identify the negative perceptions they have about mobile marketing in both regions. The research was done in July 2014.
U.S. Bank saw a 50 percent jump in credit card application approvals for a test with the Minnesota Twins of a new mobile application that leverages the camera on an iPad to speed up the process. The test, which enabled fans attending the Major League Baseball team’s games at Target Field in Minneapolis to easily apply for a U.S. Bank-issued Twins Rewards Master Card, also improved the accuracy of collected data, offered tighter security compared with on-paper applications and reduced the number of applications filled out with false information.
Bought anything on your phone lately? Shopped in bed on your tablet? Probably. Everyone does it. And according to new research published by Forrester, smartphone and tablet based commerce is expected to account for 49 per cent of all online sales in Europe by 2018. The figures cover France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, and the UK. That’s a total market of €142bn (£111.5bn), with mobile at €28.2bn (£22bn) and tablets at €113.3bn (£88.7bn).
Global News Round-up – These articles are not written by MEF and do not represent any views of individuals, members or the organisation.