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In our 5 minutes with profiles, MEF members talk about their business, their aspirations for the future and the wider mobile industry.

This week, Gary Greenbaum introduces the leader in sponsored data Syntonic.

What does Syntonic do?

Syntonic provides consumers a way to access mobile content without worrying about how much data they are consuming. Our application, Freeway by Syntonic, can be downloaded on the Google Play Store and App Store. It’s been deployed in several geographies including the U.S., India, and Indonesia.

The Freeway app lets users browse a catalog of sponsored data and data rewards content offers which reward users with free-data for downloading and engaging with applications. Syntonic supports an SDK for content publishers to enable sponsored data and data rewards directly from within their own branded apps. We also provide a sponsored data services platform for mobile carriers.

Screen Shot 2017-02-02 at 15.43.39What problem are you solving?

Syntonic’s vision is to reduce the access barrier to mobile content, an obstacle introduced by the outmoded data plan. We’re helping the market transition from a megabytes model to one that is content-centric and consumer friendly, where brands can subsidize access as a means to reach and retain consumers.

Consumers understand and appreciate offers such as ‘click here to watch today’s Premier League match sponsored by Coca-Cola’ or ‘purchase a weekly pass of content and acces to unlimited YouTube’. Freeway is the new way for consumers to access mobile content and the new way for brands to acquire, engage, and monetize these consumers.

Content centric models work well in both developed and emerging economies. Video data consumption heavily impacts data plans in developed markets. In emerging economies, mobile access tends to be relatively expensive. Freeway is the new way to consume mobile content.

Is the data plan a problem in all markets?

Mobile access is no longer a luxury, but a necessity. While emerging economies tend to be “mobile-first,” the cost of data remains comparatively expensive. Sponsored data and data rewards help bridge the mobile access divide for emerging economies.

For developed markets, our focus is mobile video – a data heavy experience that impacts consumer data plans and often results in expensive overage charges or an unusable throttled network. Ad sponsored and OTT (Over-The-Top) subscription plans alleviate the anxiety of accessing mobile video, anywhere and anytime.

When did you launch and what growth have you seen?

We started the business in 2013 in the U.S. market. Since then we have expanded our deployments to Latin America, Southeast Asia and India. In fact, Freeway is the first cross-carrier sponsored data solution supported by two of the world’s three largest mobile carriers.

Sponsored data as a concept has been around for a while. Why is it back again?

It’s back because of 3 major market forces:

  1. New, high margin and differentiated revenue streams are needed to offset the flattening and declining mobile operator ARPUs.
  2. Smartphone pricing is dropping and gaining global adoption. App developers and content providers now provide the fundamental currencies of smartphones – content, not megabytes.
  3. Mobile advertising is maturing and there are now more cost efficient means to acquire, engage, and monetize mobile consumers.

Sponsored data and data rewards provide value to the mobile ecosystem of operators, content providers, and advertisers.

Where do you see yourselves in three years’ time?

Syntonic will be the worldwide leader in new access models that reduce the barriers for people to connect, communicate, and experience the mobile internet.

Gary Greenbaum

Chief executive


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