Mobile Social Networking Smart Pipe: How is fb2mobile by Maxis in Malaysia, the best attempt by an operator globally -Vodafone, Orange and AT&T - in mobile social networking

Operator Maxis in Malaysia is probably the only operator globally that has been able to successfully launch a product fb2mobile, that goes beyond being a bit pipe in mobile social networking. As compared with Vodafone 360 by Vodafone in UK, Social Net by AT&T in US, and messenger services by Orange in UK, they have a superior offering that covers all the elements of messaging and keeps the price plans simple and easily comprehensible.

Operators globally have been trying to go beyond a bit pipe approach and there by trying to compete with over the top players such as Facebook and Twitter. TeleNow.net conducted a study wherein it compared the mobile social networking offerings by four operators, Maxis, Vodafone, AT&T and Orange and realized that different operators have taken different approach towards offering mobile social networking services to its subscribers and fb2mobile offering by Maxis is the best. The key highlights of the study are:

1) fb2mobile by Maxis has a comprehensive offering wherein it provides updates and uploads through messaging to Facebook and twitter
2) Vodafone tries to create its own social network, an unsuccessful attempt that many operators have tried in the past. Vodafone 360 doesn’t offer upload through messaging and its entire approach revolves around the subscriber address book. A subscriber can back up and synchronize its address book with social networking sites and there’s no integration to update status or upload photographs in Facebook or twitter. An incomplete offering by every means.
3) AT&T has probably taken the right approach by offering mobile application through its offering Social Net, that provides updates to Facebook and twitter. However, the biggest challenge with mobile client application is really the compatibility of application clients with numerous types of handsets. An uphill task indeed. The Social Net, page in Facebook has mostly dissatisfied customers

4) Orange has taken the instant message route and needless to add there is little that qualifies as mobile social networking
5) Above all what fb2mobile does the best is its simple pricing which is very clearly explained on its website. Ironical, that its untrue for the other social networking offerings compared in the study

The conclusion is that fb2mobile is ranked above Vodafone 360, Social Net and Messenger offering by Orange and is the best attempt by an operator to being a smart pipe in mobile social networking.

@Alber

Absolutely agree Albern. My point. Apart from this fact, are there other points you wish to raise to some of the proponents of Operator's own SNS. Their points are:

1) Access to consumer social graph and there by monetizing opportunities
2) Providing other VAS through the community in the long term

And above all with the own SNS approach what do you think should be the timeline that operator should look for breaking even. Can they be greedy in the short run?

@Sameer

Agree to your point of long term value that Vodafone will get.

The question then Sameer is, whether operators are willing to commit the time and financial and other resources that the other internet companies are committing. If they want to become an internet company then they have to behave like one. Else, they are probably better of focusing on their core competency.

What is Maxis building?

Hi,
Maxis is providing more means to reach external SNS like Facebook. It will make some SMS/MMSC/Data revenues for the short term on this. But the real question to ask is - "What "asset" is Maxis building in the process" ?
Vodafone is trying to build an asset with their approach, which in the long run, may prove to be more useful.
What say?

//Sameer

What is Maxis building?

some Telco choose to commpletely surrender to the mighty Facebook & reduced their role to a dump pipe in the value chain. Telco risk is customers can easily churn away when find a cheaper pipe.

Maxis fb2mobile approach demonstrates another posibility for Telco to offer an easy way for customer to access all popular SNS (FB, Twitter & etc) & add value with add-on VAS apps to fb2mobile such as Music download, Messenger & LBS.
The major implication is Maxis get to retain the customers (billing) relationship.

What is Maxis building?

Ooops, just to add
Anonymous at 03/31/2010 - 04:00 --> = Comment by Remus

Social Network themselves

Remus,

Do you think that operators should create Social Networks by themselves?

Social Network themselves

I think nothing wrong for operator to create own SNS especially if they know well what the local ppl usage behaviour/needs AND committed the necessary resources (dedicated product team & lots of marketing budget).

HOWEVER I have not heard of any successful attempt so far. ..

In Malsyais, you find an interesting attempt here,
http://www.ruumz.com/

//by Remus

What do you think is needed by an operator to be successful

Hi Remus,

Very good insight. What in your opinion are the key requisites for an operator to be able to successfully create its own social network.

My point is if they have the intent to invest those kind of resources and look beyond making money fast.

Who has launched ruumz? i see just the front page

thanks,

What do you think is needed by an operator to be successful

don't think is practical for operator to create own branded SNS. since is impossible for operator to extend their sns to all customers friends using other operator's network & beyond domestic market. with such limited reach, what is the chance of success? even global player like vodafone with operations in many countries can't work it out.

I think Maxis fb2mobile approach makes much more sense.

//Albern

@Albern

Absolutely agree Albern. My point. Apart from this fact, are there other points you wish to raise to some of the proponents of Operator's own SNS. Their points are:

1) Access to consumer social graph and there by monetizing opportunities
2) Providing other VAS through the community in the long term

And above all with the own SNS approach what do you think should be the timeline that operator should look for breaking even. Can they be greedy in the short run?