Synchronica Sets Sights on Africa with 'BlackBerry-like Solution for the Masses'

Further Three Mobile Operators Currently in Trials to Use Synchronica Solutions, Following Take-up of Licenses by Two Mobile Operators
(PresseBox) (TM Forum - Management World Africa, Johannesburg, ) Synchronica plc, the international provider of mobile email and synchronization solutions, is offering Mobile Gateway, its mass market push email infrastructure software, in response to major mobile operators in Africa, wishing to provide affordable BlackBerry-like services. The software which has already been licensed to two major African operators uses industry standards for push email and synchronization and works with more than 1.5 billion phones in use around the world today. This makes it ideal for consumers, prosumers, as well as small businesses in Africa where basic handsets are the norm and where mobile email solves the inherent problems caused by low fixed-line and PC penetration.

Synchronica is currently in trials with further three operators following the take-up of licenses by two mobile operators.

Speaking from TM Forum - Management World Africa where he is presenting on 'Mobile Email in Emerging Markets', Carsten Brinkschulte, Synchronica's CEO, comments: "Africa is at a metaphorical crossroads: Mobile operators in the region now have the unique opportunity to establish the mobile phone as the primary device for accessing the internet, but many are unsure about which applications to focus on. Forward-looking operators have identified mobile email as a key differentiator and, more importantly, as a way to reduce churn while also increasing ARPU. Mobile email is a valuable and addictive service with mass market appeal that can be offered on a subscription basis - or even as a free service funded with inline advertising."

Brinkschulte continues: "Our solution offers mobile operators a low-risk yet lucrative path: Our zero footprint technology works with the majority of phones in the market today, with smartphones, as well as with mass market feature phones. Unlike other solutions, Mobile Gateway uses industry standards Push IMAP and SyncML and does not require additional software to be installed on the device. This makes it ideal for Africa where the addressable market is dominated by low-end devices. With Mobile Gateway, operators can finally offer their subscribers a 'BlackBerry for the masses.'"

Forecasts point to emerging markets as a breakthrough area for mass market mobile email. Nigeria, for example, saw a 38 percent year-on-year growth in new mobile subscribers during 2006, to 30 million*. Informa predicts that there will be 4.81 billion mobile phone subscribers by 2012, with the next billion subscribers coming from emerging regions, such as Africa where PC and fixed-line penetration is low and consumers rely on their mobile phones for communication.

Mobile Gateway delivers push email and synchronization services for calendar and contact data, targeting consumer and business users with built-in connectors to mass market mailboxes such as Gmail or Yahoo, as well as Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Domino accounts for business users. With Mobile Gateway 3.5, even the most basic phones can receive email via an email-to-SMS gateway.

Another benefit for subscribers in emerging markets where PC penetration is low: They are able to sign up for the service from their handset via WAP, removing the need to sign up via a PC.

Lindsey McDonald, ICT Analyst at Frost & Sullivan Africa, comments: "There's definitely a lot of interest in mobile email from companies and prosumers, and a service like Synchronica's that does not require people to go out and buy expensive mobile phones makes a lot of sense."

Synchronica's second product, Mobile Backup, is also ideally suited for emerging markets where the mobile phone is increasingly becoming the primary repository of choice for social and business contact information. Mobile Backup 1.2 features two fast and simple ways for consumers to sign up easily to this service directly from their phone, which is important for emerging markets. Customers can now register via a straightforward WAP interface or through a simple SMS signup procedure. A built-in client provisioning module automatically configures the phone.

*Data from Light Reading, March 2007 (statistics show growth between December 2005 and December 2006). Other countries that feature in Light Reading's Top Ten Emerging Mobile Markets report include: Pakistan (up 147 percent to 48.3 million) and Bangladesh (up 135 percent to 21.8 million).

Visit the presentation of Synchronica CEO Carsten Brinkschulte at TM Forum - Management World Africa, session 'Innovation in New Services', July 16, 14:00-15:30.

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